Bear in the Road? Fatal Accidents Increasing in Nevada

If you have ever traveled through Northern Nevada, you know that wildlife—particularly bears—are no strangers to the area. Bears make an appearance annually during the summer and fall months, becoming more active in the area as they prepare themselves for a long hibernation during the witner. As a result, many will see adult bears an dcubs crossing the roadways and putting themselves—and motoristsi—in danger. According to news reports, as many as 19 bears have been killed in car accidents on Nevada’s highways in 2022. While the total number of bears killed in 2021 was 46, by this time last year only 14 had died.

Experts from Nevada Wildlife expect that this fall season may end up with double the numbers from 2021. Part of the reason is the severe fire season, according to officials, which reduces the forage and leaves wildlife no other option but to enter into Nevada’s highways and communities in search for food. Studies show that bears are awake and active up to 20 hours per day while preparing for hibernation and seek to consume approximately 20,000 daily. The result is a higher risk of car accidents with wildlife in Nevada, including bears. These animals often venture out during low visibility hours, usually during dusk or dawn and during the dark, and often walk slower than usual.

Bear Safety Tips

According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDW), it is more likely that bears will be found on residential roads or highways near foliage or forests. The NDW and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) work together to make roads safer for motorists and wildlife. There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting into a car accident with Nevada wildlife this season:

  • Pay close attention to the road and be sure to drive at or below the posted speed limit;
  • Before sunrise and after sunset, be sure to use your headlights for visibility;
  • Secure or remove items that may attract wildlife into residential areas;
  • Place your trash in a locked shed, in your garage, or in bear resistant containers;
  • Do not leave trash outside the night before it will get picked up, but instead the same morning;
  • Keep your yard clean by not leaving food outside, picking fruit off of any fruit or berry trees or bushes, and removing any birdfeeders or pet food;
  • If you have any livestock, beehives, or chicken coops install electric fencing around them.

The above tips, though simple, will help reduce wildlife—particularly bears—from entering residential areas, destroying private property, and/or venturing onto the roadways. 

Nevada Personal Injury Lawyers

When bears and other wildlife enter Nevada’s roads, it can make traveling difficult. It is critical to be on high alert during the season when wildlife tends to cross streets and roadways. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident with wildlife, contact the skilled Nevada attorneys at H&P Law can help. Wildlife behavior can be unpredictable. Try your best to follow the safety tips above and you can stay safe during this season.

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