How To Avoid An Animal vs Vehicle Collision

How To Avoid An Animal vs Vehicle Collision
There are around two million animal-vehicle collisions in the U.S. every single year. Many of these collisions result in serious injury or death of drivers or passengers, besides property damage and the death or injury of the animal.
It is wise to include coverage of animal-vehicle collisions on your auto insurance, if it is not already built into your policy. However, it is far better to avoid a “vehicular encounter” with wildlife or pets in the first place. Here is some basic advice on how to minimize your odds of hitting an animal with your car:

Avoiding Collisions With Wildlife
Being an attentive, defensive driver in general, looking for wildlife crossing signs, and not driving over the posted speed limit is your number one way to avoid hitting wildlife. Also be aware that most collisions with animals occur in the fall or winter or during hunting season.

Beyond this, here are some additional tips to help you avoid hitting wildlife:

  • Be extra cautious at dusk and at dawn. These are the hours of the day when larger wild animals tend to be on the move.
  • Don’t expect deer to steer clear of you. Deer can get blinded by headlights (the reason for that “deer in the headlight look” saying), and they will come right out in front of your car and, possibly, stop there.
  • Look for the next animal. If you see one deer cross in front of you, watch to see if the rest of the family will follow.
  • Stay calm; never panic. Don’t swerve out of control or into oncoming traffic or a ditch to avoid an animal. Slowly slow down or even stop. Use your emergency lights. Hit your horn. Calculate your “escape route” quickly but calmly.
  • Watch the roadsides. If you can notice rustling or motion in the vegetation alongside the road or spot that horizontal form amid the vertically aligned foliage, instead of waiting until the animal is already in the road, you’ll have more time to react.
  • Know habits of specific species. Expect opossums to “play dead” in the road then suddenly get up and run. Expect rabbits to circle back after dodging the car just ahead of you. If you see one raccoon, consider there may be seven more about to cross. If you are crossing a culvert, realize a beaver might cross it as well. Expect armadillos to jump and squirrels to zig-zag.

Avoiding Collisions With Pets
If you have a pet, consider getting pet insurance along with auto insurance. If your pet rides in the car they are safer wearing a seat belt. While your dog may enjoy sticking its head out the window, this is not the safest place for your animal to be. This is especially true of small dogs that could easily fall out the window. Don’t roll windows down all the way, and ensure your dog’s movement is properly restricted by their seat belt (pet harnesses that attach to seat belts are available at most pet stores).

You should also slow down in residential areas where pets are likely to be present, and be on the lookout. If you are vigilant and prepared to react, you can avoid damaging your vehicle and harming a family pet.

To learn more about avoiding collisions with animals or for a free auto insurance quote, feel free to contact us at Flagler County Insurance Agency.