Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
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X. Dealing with particular situations
Animals on the road

Crashes involving animals (mainly moose and deer) are a growing problem. Motor vehicle/wild animal collisions increased from 8,964 in 1999 to 12,791 collisions in 2008. This represents an increase of 43 per cent over a 10-year period. Many of these collisions go unreported.

You may encounter domestic, farm or wild animals on the road anywhere in Ontario. Scan the road ahead from shoulder to shoulder. If you see an animal on or near the road, slow down and pass carefully as they may suddenly bolt onto the road. Many areas of the province have animal crossing signs which warn drivers of the danger of large animals (such as moose, deer or cattle) crossing the road. Be cautious when you see these signs, especially during dusk-to-dawn hours when wild animals are most active.

To reduce your chances of hitting an animal:

  • Reduce speed in darkness, rain and fog. These conditions can reduce your ability to see an animal on or near the road.
  • Travel at a safe speed and stay alert. Driver inattention and speed are common factors in animal-vehicle crashes.
  • Watch for shining eyes at the roadside. If you do see shining eyes, slow down and be ready to stop.
  • Keep your windshield clean and headlights properly adjusted.
  • Use high beams whenever possible and safe to do so, and scan both sides of the road ahead.

If you see an animal:

  • Slow down and sound your horn.
  • Be alert for other animals that may be with the one you’ve seen.
  • Don’t try to drive around the animal. Animal movements are unpredictable.
  • If you wish to watch an animal, find a safe place to pull completely off the road and park first. Do not park on the shoulder of the road, as other drivers may be distracted by the animal and hit your vehicle.
  • Stay in your vehicle; getting out increases your chance of being hit by another vehicle.
  • If you hit a deer or moose, report it to the local police service or the Ministry of Natural Resources. Do not try to move an injured animal.