Colorado is one of the few states where you really need to be on your guard for wildlife just as much as you do other drivers – whether it means dodging pronghorns that reach speeds of 60 m.p.h. out on the eastern plains, whitetail or mule deer at night, or any number of wild critters along the state’s mountainous highways that can range from bobcats to bears. Adverse weather can also bring more wildlife to the roads, because it’s a natural place to travel in search of food if layers of snow have been removed.
“It’s going to be obviously most dangerous at dusk and dawn,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Cody Wigner. “This time of year, the days are getting shorter and people are commuting to and from work at those times.”
Top Four Tips for Avoiding Collisions with Wildlife
In Colorado, there’s several reasons wildlife move to lower elevations and oftentimes find their way onto our roadways. Time changes, weather changes, and shortages of food sources are a few of those factors. Now, here are some of the tips for avoiding collisions with wildlife:
- Drive Slower – This will help you increase your reaction time to reduce the possibility of colliding with wildlife.
- Be Alert – Don’t drive drowsy and be fully alert at dawn and dusk, which is a popular time for animals to forage for food.
- Scan Far Ahead – Look ahead for movement along both sides of the road. At night, look for the reflective eyes shining back at you from the glare of your headlights. And remember, when there’s one animal there’s usually more.
- Follow the Law – Obey traffic rules and regulations, which also includes looking out for wildlife warning signs.
Areas with Higher Density of Wildlife Populations
There are specific areas in Colorado where there are higher concentrations of wildlife. These areas require extra caution and alertness when traveling through them. Here are some of those high-risk area:
- Interstate 70 – From Golden to Grand Junction
- US 285 – Beginning in Morrison and continuing south.
- Highway 160 – Durango to Pagosa Springs, and Durango to Mancos.
- Highway 550 – North of Durango. Also, from Montrose to Ouray.
- Interstate 25 – From Castle Rock to Larkspur.
- Highway 82 – Glenwood Springs to Aspen.
- Highway 36 – Boulder to Lyons.
- Highway 93 – Golden to Boulder.
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