Keep an eye out for wildlife on highways and avoid costly collisions

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Winter is already harsh on deer, elk and other big game, and proximity to busy roads and freeways can be deadly, so motorists are asked to remain vigilant and avoid costly and potentially dangerous collisions .

Running over a deer or moose is dangerous for drivers and passengers and often results in thousands of dollars in vehicle damage, not to mention preventable wildlife loss.

“Motorists need to be extra careful and slow down, especially in low light when visibility is limited,” said Toby Boudreau, fish and game, deer and elk coordinator. “Being extra careful and vigilant is your best defense.”

The following precautions will help reduce the chance of an animal collision:

  • Big game animals are particularly crepuscular, crepuscular and nocturnal. Motorists should drive with particular care during these times.
  • Look ahead and watch for movement, especially near the fog line and at the side of the road. When driving at night, look out for shining eyes in the headlights.
  • If you see an animal crossing the road, stop immediately and look out for more.
  • Pay particular attention to areas marked with wildlife crossing signs. You are there for a reason.
  • Using high beams can help you spot wildlife, but be considerate of other drivers when using them.
  • Tailgate not. Always keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you to avoid an accident. If that driver suddenly brakes for an animal on the road, you may not be able to react in time.
  • Don’t dodge and risk losing control of your vehicle. Try to brake as much as possible and stay on the road.

The most serious accidents occur when drivers lose control of their vehicle and try to avoid an animal. It’s usually safer to hit the animal than another object like a tree or other vehicle.

Motorists should report any injury collision to the public safety dispatcher by calling 911, who will dispatch officers to the scene. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location and use your hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic until police forces arrive.

Drivers who come across a dead animal by the side of the road are encouraged to report the roadkill to the Idaho Fish and Game website. The information gathered about collisions with wildlife helps to identify high-risk areas and possible solutions to make highways safer.

Report road kill

Humans can also recover and keep some wildlife killed by accidental car collisions. You have 24 hours to notify Fish and Game when you rescue an animal and 72 hours to obtain a rescue permit.

More information about Fish and Game’s roadkill and salvage websiteincluding reporting requirements and a list of species that can legally be saved, visit or contact your nearest Fish and Game office.