Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
Home > Road Safety > Road Safety Topics > Watch for Wildlife
Text size Enlarge Text Shrink Text
Search Search  |  

Watch for Wildlife




Watch for Wildlife

Collisions with wild animals can result in serious vehicle damage, personal injury or even death.

  • On average, there is a motor vehicle/wild animal collision every 38 minutes
  • One out of every 17 motor vehicle collisions involves a wild animal
  • Motor vehicle/wild animal collisions are increasing annually. In 2007, 13,954 collisions were reported. Many more go unreported.
  • 89 per cent occur on two-lane roads outside of urban areas
  • 86 per cent occur in good weather

Wild animals are unpredictable at all times. However, there are two peak times when the risk of a collision is highest: May and June and from October to January.

Chart - Peak times of year for collisions per month: Jan 6.2%, Feb 2.5%, Mar 4%, Apr 5.8%, May 7.8%, June 10.4%, July 6.4%, Aug 4.7%, Sept 5.4%, Oct 13%, Nov 20.8%, Dec 12.9%


The Province of Ontario has taken a number of steps to help keep animals from wandering onto the road, including:

  • Installing fencing along major highways
  • Removing roadside brush to improve sightlines and visibility for drivers
  • Draining salty ponds beside highways, which may attract wildlife
  • Posting warning signs where there is a history of wildlife collisions
  • Installing highway lighting to improve visibility at night

Reduce Your Collision Risk

Illustration of warning sign - deer crossing

Illustration of warning sign - moose crossing


  • Scan the road ahead from shoulder to shoulder. When you see wildlife beside the road, slow down and pass carefully as they may suddenly bolt onto the road.
  • Watch for the yellow wildlife warning signs that indicate an area of increased risk. Slow down when travelling through these areas.
  • Use high beams at night where possible and watch for glowing eyes of animals


  • Stay in control. Watch your speed and take extra precautions when driving at night as visibility is greatly reduced. Slowing down will give you that extra second to respond.
  • Never swerve suddenly. This could cause your vehicle to go out of control or head into oncoming traffic.


  • brake firmly if an animal is standing on, or crossing, the road. Never assume the animal will move out of your way.


  • Stop as safely as possible if a wild animal is crossing the road. Remember, if one animal crosses the road, others may follow.

If possible, avoid driving during dusk or dawn when most wildlife collisions occur. Swerving to avoid hitting a wild animal may result in a more serious collision. If hitting a wild animal is unavoidable, remember to stay in control.

People who live adjacent to highways are encouraged not to feed deer during the winter as this increases the probability of motor vehicle collisions, resulting in more personal injuries and increased deer mortality.

Motorists should watch for these potential problem areas and drive carefully when passing through them.

Hardcopies of publications can be ordered through the following three channels:

Online at ServiceOntario Publications.

By phone through the ServiceOntario Contact Centre
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
416-325-3408 (TTY)
1-800-668-9938 Toll-free across Canada
1-800-268-7095 TTY Toll-free across Ontario

In person at ServiceOntario Centres located throughout the province.

For alternate formats of publications contact Alternate Format Coordinator at ServiceOntario Publications.
Tel: 416 314-3086 Fax: 416 326-4648.

Road safety. It starts with you