Wildlife on the Move helps keep drivers safe | PostIndependent.com

Wildlife on the Move helps keep drivers safe

Transportation Responsibility & YouSabrina HarrisGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

Its safe to assume when youre traveling in any mountainous or rural setting you may encounter wildlife on or near the roadway, but did you know that Highway 82 from Glenwood Springs to Marble is listed as one of most extremely hazardous areas in the state for drivers and wildlife?Deer are big, and elk are huge. A collision with a big-game animal will cause major property damage to a vehicle and can cause serious injury to motorists. Thats why the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Colorado State Patrol and the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association have teamed up for the Wildlife on the Move Campaign to make motorists aware wildlife is migrating down to lower elevations and moving across the highways this time of year. Motor vehicle crashes involving wildlife are seriously dangerous, and were ranked as the third-leading cause in Colorado for crashes behind speeding and inattentive driving. Deer and elk travel in groups during this time of the year. If you see one deer or elk on the roadway, it is likely others will follow. Deer and elk also tend to follow the same migratory routes, so watch for wildlife in signed or noted hot spots. However motorists must be aware animals can cross roads anywhere and at anytime. Be especially careful at dawn and dusk, the times when the most car accidents involving deer and elk occur. The worst times of day during the peak are 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. We want you to be safe on the roads this fall and early winter. You can avoid wildlife collisions by following these and other safety tips, and wildlife information can be found at http://restoretherockies.org/on_the_move.htm. Stay especially alert between dusk and dawn, scan ahead and watch for movement on the sides of the road.The eyes of deer and elk reflect in vehicle headlights. Watch for this important warning.The range of an average cars headlights is only 200-250 feet. Slowing to a speed of 40-45 miles per hour in dry conditions and 30 miles per hour in snowy conditions will help you to see an animal and provide you with time to stop.Slow down at deer-crossing signs. The signs are there because this is an area where deer congregate and migrate.Stay alert and use high-beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roads. Be safe by using your seat belt. If you are involved in an animal-related accident, make sure the location of the crash and the type of wildlife hit is recorded in the states database. Drivers that are in an wildlife-vehicle collision should report the crash to the State Patrol by calling *CSP (star key and 277), a free cell phone call. This data will serve as a supplement to CSP crash data in the future.

Construction continues on the trail improvements at Eighth and Midland and Three Mile Creek and Midland. No traffic delays are expected.Donegan Road, Cedar Crest Drive and Orchard Lane are open to through traffic. There is some shoulder work that will be ongoing for two more weeks. Traffic in the area should drive with caution and watch for workers finishing up work on the shoulders. The city of Glenwood Springs and Heyl Construction thank you for your patience during this project.Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.

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