Drivers in Canada are being urged to watch out for wildlife on the road as summer approaches.

The Canada Safety Council issued the advice to drivers to coincide with May’s National Road Safety Week.

According to data published by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) a total of 570 people were killed in wildlife-vehicle collisions between 2000 and 2020 and more than half of these collisions involved moose, while 32 per cent involved deer.

The bulk of collisions occurred during the summer months, in June to August there were 42 per cent, with an additional 33 per cent occurring between September and November.

“In moments of unexpected challenge on the road, our preparedness becomes of vital importance,” said Gareth Jones President and CEO, Canada Safety Council.

“It’s not just about knowing what to do, but also having the reflexes, composure, and knowledge that can only be had through proactive training, experience and awareness.”

The Canada Safety Council has issued the following advice to motorists:

  • Don’t Swerve – Instinct may push you to swerve to avoid colliding with the animal. This, however, can be a dangerous maneuver. Animals can tend to move erratically and suddenly, meaning that the place they were when you spotted them may not be where they end up after you’ve had a chance to react.
  • Prevention – Use your vehicle’s bright lights in the morning and evening. This may help you spot the animal on the edge of the road before it enters the roadway.
  • Mitigation – The safest approach when faced with most non-moose interactions is to brake firmly, as quickly as is practical, and steer straight while sounding your horn in a series of short bursts.
    Moose, on the other hand, have a unique set of guidelines owing to their stature and weight. If you encounter one in the road, the priority should be avoiding any impact with your roof or windshield. Brake hard to reduce the energy of the impact and aim for the moose’s flank when a collision is inevitable.