Ann Arbor, MI (May 3, 2016) – Flowers are blooming, wildlife are waking up from hibernation, and animals and people are out to enjoy the better weather! Unfortunately, this is also when vehicles injure and orphan millions of baby wild animals, too, so the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) would like to share some tips on safe spring driving.
Expect animals in different places. Construction and other outdoor activity puts wildlife on the move, so be on the lookout. Animals will often cross roads to get to water, so if there’s a river or lake nearby, be extra alert. Also, be aware that many birds, small mammals and deer prefer “edge habitat” (where natural habitats meet human ones—e.g., a line of trees with hedges or grass), even if it’s near the road.
Remember dusk and dawn, left and right. Those are the two times animals are most active. Actively scan the shoulders, ditches, medians and both sides of the road.
See one? Watch for more.Many animals, including deer, travel in families. If you see one animal, chances are, there are more nearby. Be sure to stop and wait for others to cross; even if you don’t immediately see them, wait and see!
When it rains, it ribbits. Lookout for froggy friends; large groups of frogs and toads often cross roads during and just after rain, especially in the evening. See a turtle? If you can safely escort it to the side of the road, do. Just be sure to keep it moving in the same direction it’s going; otherwise, the turtle will turn back!
Flash your brights, and look for glowing eyes. If you can travel on lit roads, do—otherwise, use your high beams when appropriate, scan the road for glowing eyes, and flash your lights on and off when you see an animal on or near the side of the road. Not only will this caution others to slow down, but also flashing lights are more likely to be seen by animals like deer (who cannot focus—and freeze when there’s a bright steady light).
Honk that horn. See an animal on the side of the road? Slow down and beep your horn in short bursts. Urban wildlife have become accustomed to traffic noise, and many may not have good vision, but they can distinguish your vehicle’s horn.
Give them a brake. Rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels quickly change directions to avoid predators, so predicting their path can be difficult. And swerving can be unsafe for you. If possible, use your brakes, not your wheel– and please slow down to make the road safer for every species!
Look for the signs. Studies show that deer crossing signs reduce deer-vehicle collisions when they’re strategically placed (e.g., near water or food sources for deer). If you know of a deer-crossing area without a sign, be sure to tell your local road commission.
Keep our phone number handy. Call the Humane Society of Huron Valley’s 24/7 Wildlife emergency rescue line for help with any injured wildlife in Washtenaw County: 734-661-3512. If you hit an adult wild animal this spring, please check for babies in the area. Steer clear of injured adult animals and call HSHV.
About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:
The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website (hshv.org) and on our annual report (www.hshv.org/2014annualreport).