Did you know that in 2016-2017, over 350,000 deer were killed in Pennsylvania? Though only 1 in 70 drivers are likely to hit a deer every year, Pennsylvania still has more deer-vehicle collisions than any other state. Meanwhile, in the U.S., more than a million wild animals die of roadkill weekly. Putting aside the death of the animal that comes with hitting them with your car, it also raises several costly implications for your vehicle. There’s the insurance to think about, the damage done to your vehicle and more. In this guide, we’ll be looking at how to avoid that and save animals in the wild.
- Look for signs
To avoid wild animals altogether, be sure to look for common signs. For example, if you see a deer to the side of the road, slow down, as there are others likely to be nearby. Likewise, if you see something a dog might chase (cat, squirrel, ball, etc.) be sure to keep an open eye out as well.
- Slow down
This might sound obvious, but if you truly want to avoid hitting a wild animal with your car – drive slower the next time you’re out. Most roadkill happens from drivers going too fast. So, try to slow down when you see the yellow animal crossing sign, especially during the night.
- Watch out for turns
Most animal collisions happen at the turns, so, the next time you’re at a turn, try to slow down just in case anyway. Curves are especially dangerous because of the lighting. And if you do see a wild animal, unexpectedly stopping your car might cause it to curve and collide with other cars – creating even bigger traffic. Also, have your lights ready if it’s the dark and knows your surroundings regarding if there are any other cars behind you.
- Stop completely
If you want to do your part personally, drive more slowly at night. Exercise caution at dawn and dusk. If you see a large group of wild animals like a herd, and you can’t drive around them – just stop completely. Collision with a group of animals is likely to be fatal, for your passengers as well. Instead, flash your lights and honk your horn to encourage them to hurry up and let the other cars around you know of the situation.
- Be prepared
Finally, if you do hit a deer or another wild animal, you should be prepared as to what you should do next. The first step, of course, is to make sure you’re doing fine and try to calm down. The leading cause of injuries and deaths come from the driver swerving and hitting something or someone else. And if they crash into a tree, the passengers become at risk too. Drivers are thus responsible for driving their vehicle with care. And in the worst-case scenario, if you do hit a wild animal, you should be prepared to contact a good car accident lawyer in such a case.