WATCH: Drivers Refuse to Tangle With Bison Blocking Yellowstone National Park Road

by Jon D. B.

Chances are, if you’re traveling through Yellowstone National Park, you’ve got bison on the mind. And as this footage shows, it’s best to remember these giants do whatever they want, whenever they want, including bottlenecking traffic.

Ah, to be a bison in Yellowstone National Park. It’s the only place left in North America with a full-blood ancestral herd of these magnificent megafaunas (the rest have been bred with cattle at some point). There’s no better place to catch a glimpse of both plains and woodland bison than Yellowstone as a result. And while most Outsiders will never need reminding of this, it never hurts to reiterate:

In Yellowstone National Park, Bison are Boss

Take this recent traffic jam, for example. While the headline of this article may have you thinking bison plural, it is, in fact, just one single SUV-sized bison creating this bottleneck.

Courtesy of Storyful, this pickup’s driver shoots the massive bull’s slow strut directly down the middle of a Yellowstone highway. He’s clearly not interested in moving, and thankfully these visitors are heeding his desire for a leisurely mid-day walk. Take a look:

“A bison was filmed snarling traffic as it walked on a road in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, footage shows,” The Sun captions the video via Storyful.

While it’s great to see the drivers above practicing safe driving in the park, this isn’t always the case. There are collisions with bison in Yellowstone every single year – some of which are fatal to both bison and humans.

Yellowstone Issues the Following Driving Safety Guidelines to Help Keep Visitors & Wildlife Safe

To avoid this, Yellowstone National Park asks the following:

  • Drive cautiously and watch for animals. The park has hazards on the road you are not used to at home, like 2,000-pound bison! Other road hazards include soft shoulders, potholes and frost heaves.
  • Follow the speed limit. The speed limit in Yellowstone is 45 mph unless posted otherwise.
  • Use extra caution at night. Animal fur absorbs light, making them very difficult to see on roads at night even while using bright headlights. Slow down, especially on curves in the road, when venturing into the park during dark.
  • Drowsy? Take a break. Driving while drowsy significantly increases the risk of car accidents, and with 450 miles of roads in the park, long days behind the wheel are common. Be sure to get adequate sleep before getting behind the wheel and take turns driving with other legal drivers in your group to protect yourself and others.
  • Never park in the road or block traffic. If you need to stop or pull over for any reason, use a pullout and ensure all four vehicle tires are to the right of the white line. Stay with your vehicle if you’re stopped in a wildlife jam.
  • Pack your patience. Winding roads and traffic often make drive times much longer than expected.
  • Know before you go. For details on road closures and construction in the park, check out our park roads page.

Remember, bison roam free in Yellowstone – so fencing off roads isn’t the answer. Instead, it’s up to us to practice safe driving and ensure we’re vigilant when driving in any area where wild animals may be present.

This is doubly important in Yellowstone National Park.