Brigham City’s annual sheep drive will affect traffic patterns through the surrounding area this weekend. According to an article featured on Good 4 Utah’s website, the sheep will be herded down Sardine Canyon to the 2nd South Exit to 600 East. The sheep will then move down 600 East to 600 North, down 600 North, crossing Main Street on to Watery Lane then finishing out to Corinne.
For many areas across the state of Utah, this is a regular occurrence this time of year. Whether it is cows, sheep, horses, or other livestock. In some areas of the state, there is more livestock then there are people. For example, in Box Elder County, the current estimated population is over 54,000. Meanwhile, regarding livestock, there is more than half that number in sheep alone. According to an inventory of sheep done by the United States Department of Agriculture, there are an estimated 36,000 sheep in Box Elder County. This number does not include cows which would make the number significantly higher.
Unfortunately, accidents with animals happen far more often than they should. A few years ago, federal legislation mandated a report about “Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction.” For 14 years, (from 1992-2005) the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) recorded that nearly 30,500 wildlife collisions occurred across the state (deer, elk, and moose being the most frequent). The recorded number of injuries during this period was 2,030, as well as 18 reported deaths.
There are a few simple things you can do to avoid hitting an animal, whether livestock or wildlife. Although there is not a surefire way to avoid hitting an animal, by following these suggestions, you can reduce your chances.
Use your bright beam lights when possible. Usually, wildlife is concentrated in rural areas. These roads typically have less traffic; therefore, you should be able to turn your brights on more often. Your high beams headlights allow you to see more around you. Your brights could help you see an approaching animal before it runs out in front of you, giving you time to slow down.
Pay attention to what’s up ahead. If you are in a rural area and there is a sharp curve in the road coming up ahead, you might want to slow down because you are unable to see the area around the bend. As mentioned in the tip before, seeing when something is coming up ahead, you can adjust by slowing down or moving as necessary. This suggestion includes refraining from glancing at your cell phone or other distractions. Distracted driving is an increasingly common problem for many drivers. Do not get sucked into the reckless driving behavior of driving while distracted. You will regret it.
Obey all road signs. When you are driving through a specific migratory area, usually there will be a sign indicating that deer could be nearby. In these areas, always drive below the speed limit, giving yourself plenty of time to stop.
Always wear a seatbelt. This suggestion is probably the most oft-repeated on our blog but only because according to statistics shared by the Utah Department of Highway Safety, nearly half of the people who died in car accidents over the past five years were not wearing their seatbelts. Wearing your seatbelt is a must. In 2015, it became a primary enforcement law, meaning officers can pull you over and give you a ticket for not wearing it.
While you cannot control the behavior of animals running out into the road, you can make the adjustments listed above to keep yourself safe. An accident resulting from a wild animal or livestock that is crossing the street, as planned in Brigham City, would not result in the type of recklessness which would constitute a personal injury accident like the ones we handle. Therefore, if an accident of this nature happens, there is no recourse for you as far as medical bills. Keep yourself safe by following these suggestions.