After a crash involving a deer caused the the death of a 58-year-old woman near Neepawa, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is urging drivers to use caution when encountering wildlife on the roads.
According to RCMP, a 42-year-old driver struck a deer on Highway 5 Friday evening, and a second vehicle — headed in the opposite direction — hit the same deer.
The occupants of the second vehicle, a man and woman from the Rural Municipality of Cornwallis, were taken to hospital, where the woman was pronounced dead.
Manitoba Public Insurance’s Brian Smiley told 680 CJOB that while he didn’t know the full details of how the fatal accident happened, vehicle/wildlife collisions are very common throughout the province, and drivers need to stay alert.
“This is the absolute worst-case scenario when someone is coming across wildlife like this,” he said.
“This is extremely tragic, and unfortunately it’s another reminder to us that we need to be extremely careful when we’re travelling on our highways in our wildlife areas.
“On average, there’s roughly 9,000 vehicle/deer hits yearly in our province. In total, there’s roughly 12,000 wildlife hits yearly in our province. This is a very somber reminder to everyone to be very careful when you’re travelling on the highways.”
If you encounter a deer, Smiley said, don’t try to swerve into potentially oncoming traffic. The best course of action is to have both hands on the wheel, apply the brakes, stay in your lane, and ‘drive through the animal’.
Although most collisions with deer happen in rural areas — Smiley said the Eastman region has the most frequent such accidents — there are dangers of a different sort in the city, especially as the holidays are upon us.
“The malls are coming into their peak seasons,” he said. “Traffic volumes are increasing tremendously, the pedestrian traffic is also increasing.
“When you’re in a mall area, if possible, back your vehicle into the parking lot. It’s a little bit safer — you can see what’s happening in front of you.
“Move slowly. You don’t want to be racing around that parking lot at 60 km/h.”