Steer Clear of Deer! 5 Tips for Avoiding Animal-Car Collisions This Fall

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Lauren Fix Ford explorer elk

 

Fall is a scenic time of year, but safe driving in autumn involves more than taking in the sights; it includes being mindful of the wildlife populations in your area. In fact, Farmer’s Insurance reports that 4 out of 10 animal-vehicle collisions occur between October and December, due to mating, migration, and hunting seasons.

 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), there are an estimated 300,000 animal-vehicle collisions yearly, with serious health and financial consequences to the drivers involved. The DOT’s most recent study reported 26,000 human injuries and 200 fatalities. Not to mention upward averages of $1,800 in medical bills and $2,700 in vehicle repairs services.

 

Bison in the road at Yellowstone

 

So, why wait to see if your insurance will cover the expense? Becoming a safer driver this fall only requires increased awareness and preemptive practices regarding your local wildlife population.

 

Here are some handy tips to prevent a less-than-festive accident this fall:

 

Wildlife on Road sign Yellowstone

 

1. Be a defensive driver:

Wear your seatbelt. Keep an eye out for animal crossing signs. Vehicle collisions with a large animal, especially elk, deer or moose, can be just as dangerous as hitting another car. Always exercise basic precautions.

 

2. Be aware, and awake:

The majority of animal-related collisions occur before 9am in the morning and after 5pm at night. Be honest with yourself: are you too tired to drive? The combination of dark roads and tired eyes lead to hundreds of avoidable wildlife accidents every year.

 

3. Be reactive, but calm:

These collisions aren’t all about deer and moose; they involve the smaller, cuter wildlife too. But don’t be too eager to swerve and save that chipmunk in the road! When possible, apply your brakes safely. If not, be aware of your surroundings and use your mirrors to avoid collisions.

 

4. Be alert, wherever you are:

Animal-related accidents are not just a rural issue. Food scarcity in the fall and winter months increases wildlife activity in urban and suburban areas alike. Never let your guard down, especially on unfamiliar roads.

 

5. Be preemptive, and talk to your loved ones:

The Department of Transportation reports that 40% of drivers involved in wildlife collisions are between the ages of 15-24 years old. If your family or friends include younger drivers, make sure to educate them on the basic safety techniques!

Don’t let a wildlife accident ruin a holiday this year! Keeping your family safe, and your insurance rates low, is as easy as being a viligant, conscientious driver.

 

 

[Sources: http://www.westerntransportationinstitute.org/documents/reports/4W1612_Report_to_Congress.pdf

http://www.farmers.com/news/seasonal-smart]