Road trips are supposed to be a fun time with family and friends. But that can quickly change if your trip is interrupted by a collision with wildlife.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, since 2012, more collisions with animals happen in June than nearly every other month. Annually, more than 80 percent of animal-related crashes are with wildlife and 86 percent of crashes involving animals occur in rural areas.
The higher-than-average number of wildlife-related crashes in June is likely related to the beginning of monsoon, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The season increases the number of plants and provides more available water, allowing wildlife to travel greater distances.
More motorists are also traveling to Arizona’s High Country during this time, which means more vehicles on the roadways, and more chances for animal encounters. To stay safe on rural roadways, ADOT says drivers are encouraged to pay attention to signs indicating areas where wildlife is prone to cross roadways.
Drivers should also obey the speed limit and be aware of the surroundings near the shoulders of roadways to reduce the chances of crashing into an animal.
If you're taking a trip to the High Country, AZGFD also offers this advice:
- Deer are most active in early mornings and evenings.
- If you see one animal there are probably more, so slow down.
- Typically, you should not swerve to avoid hitting the animal. Stay in your lane and firmly brake.
- However, if it is a very large animal and there is no oncoming traffic and the shoulder is safe on either side of the road, it may be safer to swerve rather than risk the impact from a large animal, like a cow, horse or adult bull elk.