UHP urges drivers to slow down around elk, other wildlife

Feb 3, 2023, 12:30 PM | Updated: 12:52 pm
elk are crossing i-80, their presence will cause closure on saturday...
Elk crossing on I-80 Friday morning, Feb. 3, 2023 (Matt Gephardt/KSL)
(Matt Gephardt/KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY — The area around Foothill Drive and Parley’s Canyon is seemingly gaining popularity among herds of elk, as they have been seen every day since they were first spotted in late January.

Unfortunately, the busy roads in that area have led to multiple crashes involving the animals like elk.

Now, Utah Highway Patrol is urging people to slow down and drive cautiously around wildlife.

“We never know what that animal is going to do … whether they freeze in the roadway or try to run across,” said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Roden.

The main advice Roden offers for people when driving around wildlife includes:

  • driving cautiously and staying alert to allow for time to slow down if wildlife is on the road;
  • practice extra caution and remain extra alert in canyons, higher elevations, and at night;
  • only maneuver around an animal if it’s safe to do so;
  • slow down as much as possible in case a crash is unavoidable; and,
  • if you hit an animal, pull over to a safe place off the road and call law enforcement for help.

“Don’t try to handle (an accident) by yourself … we’d rather have you in a safe spot before you call law enforcement,” Roden said.

According to Roden, troopers dealt with 1,771 crashes involving wildlife in 2022. Already in 2023, there have been 120 such crashes.

UHP also asks drivers to be extra cautious if they see troopers working on a wildlife-related crash or another issue that requires them to be on the roads.

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UHP urges drivers to slow down around elk, other wildlife