Deer in the Headlights: Avoiding Animal-Vehicle Collisions
Nearly hitting (or actually colliding with) an animal on the road is a nerve-racking experience. The fact is, animal-vehicle collisions are sad, dangerous and costly. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 human deaths, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $1 billion in vehicle damages.
It is important for drivers to use caution and remain alert to avoid becoming involved in a collision with wildlife.
What should you do if an animal runs in front of your vehicle? Follow these tips from AAA:
- Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you.
- Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if an animal is spotted.
- Also, remember some animals move in groups. When there is one, there are usually more in the area.
- Use your brights if there is no oncoming traffic.
- Wildlife may be spotted sooner when using high beams. This will give you time to slow down, move over or honk the horn to scare the animal(s) away.
- High beams also help in spotting some animals’ reflective eyes.
- If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane.
- Swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or result in drivers losing control of vehicles.
- Use extra caution at dawn and dusk.
- Most animals, especially deer, tend to be more active early in the morning and at dusk.
- Wear a seat belt and remain awake, alert and sober.