It’s mid-May and that means it’s turtle crossing season here in New England.

Your morning commute could hit some of the slowest-moving traffic you’ve ever seen, because, duh, turtles are super slow movers. But MassWildlife wants you to keep these two very important things in mind before you get out of the car and help your fellow living creature get where he’s going.

As animals across the region begin to emerge from hibernation, most will begin to look for places to nest and graze, and turtles are no exception. And even though most turtles have been depicted as dopey, befuddled creatures, they actually know exactly where they are going and really don’t need any directional help from good-intentioned passersby.

Be Safe When Trying to Help Turtles

There are lots of winding back roads in our area that have cute homemade turtle-crossing signs. But those cute signs don’t make getting out of your car less dangerous.

If you insist on safely pulling off to the side of the road to assist the turtle, gently pick it up by the edge of its shell and move it to the edge of the road in the direction he was going. The turtle is headed exactly where he wants to be and did not ask you to relocate him to a more glamorous place, so resist the urge to do so.

Being safe also means not driving into oncoming traffic in an effort to avoid the turtle.

Lastly, being safe means knowing the difference between a regular turtle and a snapping turtle who will bite the heck out of you if you try to pick it up.

Go Slow When You're in High-Turtle Areas

If your road to work has turtle crossing signs posted, it's because that area is a common throughway for turtle crossing. Weird, right?

Turtles are pretty routine creatures and they cross where they cross, year after year. If you’ve seen a turtle crossing in a certain area before, just remember that they’ll probably cross again. Not only will this help you avoid running over a turtle and scarring you and your passengers for life, but it will help you avoid a last-minute dodge-maneuver that could put you and oncoming motorists in a really dicey situation.

It’s hard to have your commute delayed, sure, but at least it's just an innocent, slow-moving turtle and not a family of bears who just can't get their act together, right?

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