Wildlife poses hazard for motorists

the OPP

Within the last 60 days officers, Rainy River District OPP officers have responded to more than 15 motor-vehicle collisions involving wildlife.
With the changing seasons, wildlife will venture out in search for food along our highways.
This year, officers have responded to collisions involving otters, bobcats, racoons, and deer.
One collision occurred when a motorist tried to brake suddenly to avoid a rabbit, but lost control of his vehicle and entered the ditch.
Colliding with animals of any size can cause significant damage to vehicles, or result in injury or death.
Larger animals like deer and moose move quickly and blend well into their surroundings, especially at night.
Rainy River District is known for a high deer population, which are especially visible along highways at certain times of the year.
In spring, officers routinely observe deer on the north side of the highway as the sunshine melts the snow and animals feed on grass and salt deposits.
The OPP would like to remind motorists to remain attentive. Driving is something most of us do every day, so it’s reasonable to expect that some drivers become complacent to hazards along the roadway.
Here are some tips to help to improve hazard perception:
•limit distractions—put down the cellphones);
•slow down—obey the speed limit and account for road and weather conditions);
•don’t get “locked in”—consciously tell yourself to look for hazards (animals);
•practice directing your attention—look at speed signs, check your mirrors, practice looking far ahead down the highway, etc.; and
•refocus—when you realize there is a distraction, refocus on your primary task which is driving!
It certainly is nice to feel the warmer spring weather arriving. But don’t become complacent to hazards because the sun is shining or the roads are bare and dry.
Be aware of hazards and drive safely!