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

Crashes involving animals (mainly moose and deer) are a growing problem. You may encounter domestic, farm or wild animals on the road anywhere in Ontario. The number of animals hit by vehicles increased from 7,388 in 1994 to 13,729 in 2003, an 86-percent increase over a 10-year period.

Many areas of the province have animal-crossing signs that 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 impair 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.
  • Scan the road ahead from shoulder to shoulder. If you see an animal on or near the road, slow down and pass carefully, as it may suddenly bolt in front of you.
  • 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.