New “watch for animals” signs protect motorists and wildlife

New “watch for animals” signs protect motorists and wildlife

By Lori Baker / ADOT Communications
October 26, 2021

While traveling in Arizona’s high country, it’s important to look out for elk, deer and other wildlife which could suddenly bolt in front of your vehicle. There were more than 1,400 crashes with animals in 2020, including two fatalities, 179 people injured and damage to 1,272 vehicles, according to ADOT’s 2020 Crash Facts.

To catch motorists’ attention better, ADOT’s Northern Regional Traffic and Sign Shop crews created new yellow “Watch for Animals” supplemental placards that were placed under existing animal symbol signs. They were posted on State Route 87 south of Payson in both directions as a pilot project.

“We needed to come up with a new sign design that would display the wording, ‘Watch for Animals’ as well as the animal symbol to let all drivers be aware of the potential hazards,” Prescott Valley Transportation Engineering Specialist Josh Hale said. “Some drivers react to visual symbols and some respond to wording better. The new signs give the driver a better visual picture, with the symbol and the wording all in one sign.”

The new signs, were designed after much research in the area, and reviewing wildlife maps and crossings as well as crash data maps. “The placement of our new signs was crucial in our decision-making. We need an area where they would be seen and get the most attention from the public,” said Hale. 

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