Beware of wildlife on the road | AspenTimes.com

Beware of wildlife on the road

Don’t let a collision with a deer or elk ruin your Thanksgiving weekend. Drive cautiously and watch for wildlife.

We’ve noticed a lot of roadkill on Highway 82 lately, and the experts say the problem only will get worse with the recent snowfall, which will likely drive elk down to lower elevations. As they search for greener grasses, they are sure to cross Highway 82 and other valley thoroughfares, so it’s in our best interest (and theirs) to keep an eye out and slow down.

Opinions vary on whether this fall has been more bloody than usual in terms of auto collisions with big game, but everyone seems to agree that the amount of wildlife on or near our local roads is bound to increase as winter truly sets in.

The Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project recently dubbed Highway 82 one of eight “extremely hazardous” roadways in Colorado for conflicts with wildlife. This is true, no doubt, simply because of the numbers of animals and the amount of traffic. But chances are it also has to do with the average speed of travel on the highway, which we all know is above the legal limit. It’s even worse when motorists ” particularly morning and evening commuters ” often are talking on cell phones behind the wheel.

Truly, it’s no fun to hit a big-game animal. If this sounds like a hollow public service announcement, then consider how it feels to watch a wounded animal suffer as you stand by the side of the road, contemplating your damaged car and your soon-to-increase insurance premium.

Please slow down and enjoy the holiday weekend.