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Watching for animals on the road

Hilary Hagerman, staff writer

May 8, 2012 — As the weather warms up, moose and other animals are starting to make their way onto roads more often -- especially in northern Ontario.

Officials are cautioning drivers to watch out for animals like this one
Officials are cautioning drivers to watch out for animals like this one

In North Bay, Ont. there were three separate collisions involving deer and moose on the weekend.

Many of these animals, especially moose, are very large and are capable of causing damage, injury and even death.

Officials are reminding people that it's more important than ever to keep your eyes open for these large jaywalkers.

Constable Shawn Foguere with the North Bay O.P.P says that there's several reasons why more animals have been on the move lately.

"Bugs are starting and blackflies are starting," he explains. "That causes (animals) to get out of the dense bush and into open areas, which a lot of times is the highway."

Foguere says that trees and greenery are also starting to bloom, so there's more for the animals to eat. "These animals are moving, and unfortunately the highways are their wide-open spot," he explains. "They don't look both ways before they cross the street, so we're asking our drivers to."

Watch road signs and the shoulder of the road
Watch road signs and the shoulder of the road

Moose eyes don't glow in headlights like deer eyes do, so officials say you should exercise extra caution and frequently scan the shoulder of the road, especially when driving at night.

Foguere says that if you do encounter an animal on the road, don't try to swerve around it. "If you hit the soft shoulder, you're going to flip (which is) more cause for injury," he says. "You could cross the centre line and get into a head-on crash."

"The best thing to do is lock up," Foguere explains. "Get on your breaks as hard as you can and try and stop."

"Do not do any abrasive movements, because instead of hitting an animal, you may end up hitting another vehicle head on."

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