Road Safety for Wildlife
BY AWAKE! CORRESPONDENT IN BRITAIN
ONE hundred thousand foxes and as many hedgehogs and rabbits die on Britain’s roads each year, as do 40,000 badgers, 5,000 barn owls, and more than a million toads. Winter fog and darkness contribute to the slaughter of wildlife by cars speeding along the highways. Drivers often swerve to avoid killing an animal but then damage their vehicle or even crash into oncoming traffic. This sometimes results in the loss of human life. After an accident involving an animal, many drivers suffer trauma, and according to police reports, hundreds are no longer able to continue their journeys.
On some highways in Britain, authorities have installed special reflectors to scare deer away from the roads. When light from a car’s headlights strikes the reflectors, they give the appearance of the eyes of wolves! Elsewhere, trees have been planted farther than usual from the road to provide drivers with a better view of any wildlife ahead. In the United States, some motorists have outfitted their vehicles with whistles that produce a high-frequency noise when the vehicle is traveling over 35 miles [55 km] per hour. Airflow through the whistle generates a 60-decibel sound at a frequency that is inaudible to the human ear but is heard clearly by wildlife. The device has proved most effective on animals with forward-facing ears. Police reported that collisions with deer fell by 50 percent in a trial using the whistle.
How can you avoid danger and the unnecessary destruction of wildlife on the roads? When you drive, especially in winter or at night, slow down and heed road signs that alert you to the presence of animals.