White-tailed deer roadside behavior, wildlife warning reflectors and highway mortality

  • Published source details Waring G.H., Griffis J.L. & Vaughn M.E. (1991) White-tailed deer roadside behavior, wildlife warning reflectors and highway mortality. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 29, 215-223.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Install wildlife warning reflectors along roads

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Install wildlife warning reflectors along roads

    A before-and-after study in 1977–1982 along a road through agricultural land in Illinois, USA (Waring et al. 1991) found that warning reflectors did not reduce deer-vehicle collisions. A similar number of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus was killed overnight during a year with reflectors installed (six deer) as during the previous two years before reflectors were installed (5–6/year). The local deer population was reported to have decreased over this time. Behaviour of deer crossing the road or feeding at the roadside did not appear to be altered by reflectors. Eighty Swareflex wildlife warning reflectors were installed along each side of a 0.8-km section of a two-lane highway (speed limit 88 km/hour). Reflectors comprised two mirrors (5 × 17 cm) covered with red prism plates on posts 20 m apart, 3 m from the road edge. Collision data were provided by transportation personnel and direct observations.

    (Summarised by: Rebecca K. Smith)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust