Beware of the King, he doesn’t stop for you

Elk Road King of the forestCollisions involving elk often have major consequences and can cause serious damage to car, driver and passengers. Heed the hazard signs properly, encourages NAF.

Beware of the King o’ the forest, he doesn’t break for anybody

Autumn is a time for encounters between deer, foxes, badgers, other animals and cars, including the King o’ the forest, the majestic elk. In the darkness of autumn, it is extra important to be alert, slow down your car and heed the hazard signs, encourages NAF.


The wild animals wander more in the autumn and the risk of meeting an animal gone astray is much bigger. It’s is extra difficult to discover them in the autumn, as well.

– A lot of people lives in fear of colliding with wild animals on the roads, and they always happen out of the blue. It is important to keep both eyes on the road, says Senior Communications Adviser in NAF, Nils Sødal.

Heed the hazard signs

A hazard sign is there for a reason, namely, that there is the increased danger that animals, like elk,  may stray into the road at that particular stretch of road. Nevertheless, there are too few who slow down and sharpen attention when driving past a hazard sign.

– When you see a hazard sign that shows an increased danger of close encounters of the 3rd degree, it’s important to look at the accompanying information found below it. It informs about how long you should pay extra attention to the roadside. Sweep the periphery with your vision so that you can detect any movements and reflected light coming from animal eyes, says Sødal.

The hazard is not over once you have passed the area the sign applies to. Therefore, you must be an attent driver at all times and be on the alert.

– It’s not the case that wild animals exist solely in rural settings. Badgers, foxes and ree are found in populated areas. The speed is not so high in those areas, and the animals are smaller than elk and large deer, so the collisions are less powerful. It is, nonetheless, well worth the effort to be vigilant in urban areas as well, Sødal encourages.

Some collisions are unavoidable

If you see an animal crossing the road, it is quite possible that there may be more following shortly after. Then it’s important that you do not get so focused on the one animal you have avoided, that you hit the next one in line, instead.

– Lower the speed and come to a complete stop if need be. Do not stress the animal and be prepared for it to start running in front of the car, advises Sødal.

– If you do not manage to avoid an accident, you should aim at the back end of the animal and brake as much as you can before impact. Keep in mind that you must notify about collisions with animals to the police even if you think it is not hurt, Sødal concludes.

elk sign hazard

Hazard sign informing that elk (moose) may cross the road ahead. Image: Statens veivesen


© NAF / #Norway Today