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Drivers should be aware of northern Arizona wildlife during monsoons

(Pixabay photo)

PHOENIX — As the Phoenix area starts to heat up, many residents will travel north to escape the devastating, triple-digit temperatures.

But officials with the Arizona Department of Transportation are warning drivers to be aware of wildlife while driving in rural areas, as the number of crashes involving wildlife in Arizona tends to spike in June.

“We want people to know that if they have plans to travel in the high country, obey the speed limits and scan the shoulders for wildlife,” Doug Pacey with the Arizona Department of Transportation told KTAR News 92.3 FM. 

“Most of these crashes occur in rural areas with wildlife, such as deer, elk, bears.”

Pacey said 86 percent of crashes with animals occur in rural areas, and 80 percent of those crashes involve wildlife.

“If you see one animal, there’s probably more than one,” Pacey said, advising drivers to “take it slow” while driving.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department attributes the high number of animal-involved crashes to the monsoon season, when plants green up and water is more plentiful, so animals tend to travel further out.

“There are more animals, more cars,” Pacey said. “It’s the perfect storm for crashes to happen.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster contributed to his report.