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How Do They Decide Where to Put Animal Crossing Signs in Colorado?

Since Colorado is home to an abundance of deer, moose, and elk, it’s not uncommon to find these animals in the road.

When driving through the Centennial State, you’ll see signs reminding you to watch for wandering wildlife.

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But how do officials decide where to put these signs? It’s not as random as you may think.

How Colorado Decides to Place Animal Crossing Signs

If you’ve driven past an animal crossing sign and wondered how they know wildlife starts crossing right here, then wonder no more.

There doesn’t appear to be data for Colorado as a whole, but we did find a possible answer in Jefferson County.

According to the county’s website, county officials “will consider installing deer crossing signs when five or more vehicle-deer crashes are reported to the Colorado State Patrol at a location within one year.”

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A journal from experts at the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Colorado Division of Highways, “Effectiveness of a Lighted, Animated Deer Crossing Sign,” confirms this, noting that Glenwood Springs installed deer crossing signs at frequent vehicle-deer accident sites.

Although these examples are deer-specific, this logic likely applies to other species.

Are Animal Crossing Signs Effective in Colorado?

“Effectiveness of a Lighted, Animated Deer Crossing Sign” states that the signs were overall ineffective.

“Apparently motorists did see the sign, but their response in the form of speed reduction and/or increased awareness was not sufficient to affect the crossings per kill ratio,” reads the journal.

The signs don’t make much of an impact in other states either.

Bill Lambert, a state traffic engineer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, told New Hampshire Public Radio that animal crossing signs do little to improve animal mortality rates or driving practices.

Still, it couldn’t hurt to be cautious the next time you see one. Safe driving always pays off.


Sometimes, animal interactions extend beyond the roadways. Check out 25 crazy wildlife encounters that happened in Colorado in the gallery below.

Click here to view photo gallery Click here to view photo gallery

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