The Clock is Ticking: Why Slowing Down for Wildlife Matters More During Daylight Saving Time

DENVER, CO – With the end of daylight saving time on Sunday, Nov. 5, it’s not just the clocks that will change. The waning daylight will have a significant impact on Colorado’s wildlife, increasing the potential for dangerous encounters with vehicles during rush-hour commutes. Both Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are urging drivers to slow down and remain vigilant to avoid wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Daylight saving time means that dusk will fall earlier, coinciding with the time most people are driving home from work. This period is especially critical as autumn marks the peak seasonal mating and migration time for many species.

“This is the time of year when we start seeing more animals on the move at our state parks and on our roads,” said CPW Fishers Peak State Park Manager Crystal Dreiling. “Drivers across the state can expect to find wildlife on or near the roadways as winter approaches and they can do their part in helping to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions with bear, elk, and deer by traveling at slower speeds and staying vigilant.”

To mitigate the risk, CDOT has partnered with CPW to develop wildlife prioritization plans targeting areas on the Western Slope, as well as the Eastern Slope and Plains. “From these studies, wildlife mitigation features can be added to planned highway improvement projects,” stated Keith Stefanik, CDOT Chief Engineer. These features may include wildlife overpasses, underpasses, and high fences with escape ramps and wildlife guards along highways.

Efforts to create safer environments for both wildlife and drivers have already been implemented or are under construction:

  • I-25 Gap Project Monument to Castle Rock: Features five underpasses and high fencing. One overpass is currently in design.
  • CO 13 Fortification Creek Project north of Craig: Includes one underpass and a wildlife radar detection system, along with high fencing.
  • U.S. 550 Connection South Project near Durango: Comprises two underpasses, several small mammal underpasses, and high fencing.
  • I-70 between Lookout Mountain and Genesee exits: Consists of one underpass and high fencing.
  • CO 13 North Rifle Corridor Phase I: Contains two underpasses and one box culvert, with high fencing.

“It’s exciting to see CPW, CDOT, and our Wildlife Transportation Alliance partners working together to create safe passage for motorists and wildlife,” remarked CPW’s Wildlife Movement Coordinator Michelle Cowardin.

Be Aware, Be Prepared

As winter approaches and wildlife becomes more active, it’s crucial for drivers to adapt their behavior. Slowing down at night, staying alert, and being aware of your surroundings are simple but effective measures that can prevent collisions and save lives—both human and animal.

Further Information

For more information on ongoing efforts and completed projects, visit the Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Alliance webpage.

Reminder for Motorists

  • Slow down, especially during dusk and dawn.
  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • If you see one animal, expect more to follow.

Your actions can make a difference. Make the road safer for you and our wildlife this daylight saving time.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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