It’s amazing how some motorists often need to be reminded of the most basic rules of driving safety: like, if you’re going to stop and view native flora and fauna, it’s customary to pull off the road and park — and not to simply stop your vehicle in the middle of a busy highway!
Wildlife officials in Colorado this week issued a warning to motorists in the San Luis Valley to exhibit care and caution – and common sense — in the area known for its large herds of congregating elk this time of year.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials this week issued a press release urging motorists in the San Luis Valley to use caution — along with basic common sense — when they stop to view congregating elk in the region during the winter months. Drivers who want to stop to see wildlife are being told to pull completely off the road to avoid causing traffic hazards.
“We want people to admire Colorado’s wildlife, but they need to be aware of other vehicles for everyone’s safety,” said Conrad Albert, a district wildlife manager in the San Luis Valley.
Along Colo. Highway 159 in Costilla County during the winter, large herds of elk gather and often remain for four or five months. Drivers regularly stop to see the animals, however, because many fail to move completely off the road, creating hazardous situations for other drivers.
Officials said a similar situation exists on Colo. Highway 149 in Mineral County near Wagon Wheel Gap south of Creede. There, a small herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep often is seen near the road, resulting in traffic problems. Drivers are warned to be aware of vehicles approaching from all directions and pull safely off the roadway.
Have you ever been faced with irresponsible motorists (or tourists) in areas where wildlife and scenic views are abundant?
(Top Photo) Elk gather near Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where officials say motorists stopping to view wildlife is a growing safety problem.