Elk and deer on the road

Accidents occur throughout the country, with busy two-lane main roads having the highest incidence of elk collisions and northern Lapland the lowest.

Nearly two thirds of elk and deer collisions happen at dusk or in the dark

The risk of colliding with an elk or deer is particularly high in those areas where elk fencing ends. Elk are most active at dusk in the morning and evening. The hours right before sunrise and after sunset are characterised by a higher risk of elk collision. Elk move around a lot particularly in October-November and May-June.

They tend to cross roads at specific locations, which are indicated by elk warning signs. In the spring, drivers should note that calves recently weaned by their mothers are unused to moving around on their own and may appear on the road in surprising locations.

Deer accidents are most typical late in the year, particularly November.

To avoid accidents

  • Reduce speed in areas with a high risk of elk collisions. The risk of injury from an elk collision increases sharply at higher speeds.
  • Use long-range headlights whenever possible.
  • Keep your eyes on the sides of the road, particularly in locations where there are wooded areas or thickets close to the road.
  • If an animal runs on the road, try to drive behind it.

What to do in case of an accident

  • Warn other road users and place a warning triangle in an appropriate location.
  • Help those in need and call for assistance if there are casualties (emergency number 112).
  • Always inform the police (emergency number 112).

Reindeer

When driving in areas where reindeer are kept, be prepared for the possibility of reindeer walking on the road. Reindeer activity is highest in July-August and November-January.

Reindeer collisions must always be reported to the police. Taking the carcass with you is not permitted.

Other animals

Smaller wildlife also cross roads from time to time. Before braking, quickly check the rear-view mirror to avoid a rear-end collision. When trying to avoid collisions with small wildlife, avoid sudden moves that could lead to your car running off the road or into the oncoming lane, which can cause a risk of a larger accident.

If you hit an animal, your ethical duty is to go back and see what condition the animal is in. However, take other traffic into account in doing so. Gravely injured animals must be euthanised. Such situations may also be reported to the police, who will then euthanise the animal on the driver’s behalf.

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