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Animals

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  • Animal encounters are a common occurrence on Alaskan roads. Moose and deer are prevalent in most areas of the state. Regionally caribou are common in the Kenai Peninsula, sheep and bear in South Central, and mountain goats in Southeast. Collisions with big game animals can be dangerous and costly. Drivers should take precautions to help prevent such crashes.
  • Use caution when driving at dawn or dusk and scan roads and roadsides ahead.
  • Keep vehicle headlights and windshields clean. Moose can be difficult to see and most vehicle-moose accidents occur at dawn and dusk when light is low and moose are most active.
  • Reduce your speed at night and use high beams when possible.
  • Slow down when approaching deer or moose standing near the roadside, as they may suddenly bolt into the road.
  • Deer and moose often travel in pairs or groups, so if an animal is spotted crossing the road, slow down and be alert for others that may follow.
  • Briefly use flashers or a headlight signal to warn approaching drivers when deer or moose are spotted in or near the highway.
  • Drivers need to be careful of other vehicles pulling over suddenly to view wildlife.
  • Be especially alert and use caution when traveling through frequent deer or moose crossing areas, which are usually marked with “leaping stag” or moose signs.
  • Do not rely on devices, such as deer whistles, extra lights or reflectors, to deter animals.
  • Research has shown that your best defense is your own responsible behavior.
  • Motorcyclists should be especially alert for animals as motorcycle collisions with animals have a higher fatality rate.
  • If an animal does run in front of your vehicle, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a vehicle-vehicle collision or cause the vehicle to strike a pedestrian or potentially deadly fixed object, such as a tree or utility pole.
  • If a collision with a big game animal occurs, contact your local Police Department or the Alaska State Troopers. Big game animals killed or injured in a vehicular collision are the property of the state. If, following a vehicle collision, you kill or injure a big game animal, you must notify a State Trooper or a Fish & Wildlife Officer as soon as possible.