Wildlife does not observe Daylight Saving Time

Christie Greene
Posted 11/15/21

Following war-time examples of Germany and Austria, the United States adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1918. The time shift, along with the season’s early onset of dusk and dawn, can align the human …

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Wildlife does not observe Daylight Saving Time

Posted

Following war-time examples of Germany and Austria, the United States adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1918. The time shift, along with the season’s early onset of dusk and dawn, can align the human rush hour with the regular crepuscular movements of wildlife.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, November records more vehicle-wildlife accidents than at any other time of the year. Migration to wintering habitats as well as deer mating season contribute to the increase.

Trouble spots in the Denver metro area listed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are:

I-70 through Mount Vernon Canyon and Floyd Hill

Highway 285 from the Jefferson County-Park County line to C-470

Highway 74 from Elk Meadow to Evergreen Lake

In 2020, there were 40 animals reported killed on Highway 74, nearly all between I-70 and Evergreen Lake. CDOT considers that for every animal carcass that is counted, another animal was killed but not reported.

While deer account for the highest percentage of species killed on roads around the state, elk are frequent victims of car crashes in Evergreen. One particular location, on the south side of the blind hill between Lewis Ridge Road and Stagecoach Road, is responsible for more vehicle-elk collisions than any other location in CDOT’s Region 1.

While bear strikes are unusual in Evergreen, three bears lost their lives on Highway 74 in 2020.

The effects of an impact can be costly, both emotionally and financially.

To consider the economics of a collision with wildlife, one must include the cost of personal injuries, deductibles for insurance claims and time away from work among other concerns. Additionally, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has assigned a dollar value to wildlife that are considered as property of the state’s citizens

Accounts of wildlife collisions by local drivers are full of grief, shock and stress. In “After the Crash,” over 75% of drivers and passengers involved in vehicle crashes reported feeling some level of anxiety, including PTSD.

The Colorado State Patrol has listed several recommendations to lessen the risk of a wildlife-vehicle collision:

• Drive more slowly and stay alert, especially when you see a wildlife warning sign.

• If you see one deer or elk, expect others.

• Remember to scan ahead on the sides of the road for signs of movement, day and night.

• Stopped traffic, or perhaps the blinking of lights, is a strong signal that there could be wildlife on the road ahead.

Being impatient and trying to pass these bottlenecks can result in accidents. One social media comment stated, “The car from behind my vehicle raced around the bottleneck, zoomed at top speed in the left lane and slammed into a family of deer.”

Evergreen enjoys a resident herd of elk that knows no fear of cars and leisurely moves across Highway 74 with impunity. The best and only way to avoid the ugly reality of an animal-vehicle strike is to follow the advice of the agencies that regularly respond to the aftermath of such collisions.

For more information, see CDOT’s Wildlife on the Move program at www.codot.gov/programs/environmental/wildlife and visit Evergreen’s wildlife advocacy nonprofit group, Wild Aware, at www.wildaware.org.

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