According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a motorist collides with some form of wildlife every 39 seconds. These types of crashes account for almost six percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the US every year. When you hit a large animal with your car, the damage can be detrimental and life-threatening. So, how can you avoid a vehicle-wildlife collision?

Know What to Expect

deer crossing the road Animals can wander into the road at any time of the year, but the prime time for motorists to hit wildlife is fall. Specifically, the month of November for deer. The most common times to encounter animals in the road are:

  • Dusk: The twilight period before night begins.
  • Dawn: Right before the sun rises.
  • Night: After the sun has set and the moon has risen.

Keep in mind that about 200 motorists die as a result of vehicle-wildlife collisions each year.

Watch for Wildlife

It may seem obvious, but the most important step that a driver can take to avoid hitting an animal is to be alert. There are several ways of doing this, beyond limiting distractions that take your eyes off the road, including:

  • Pay Attention to Animal Crossing Signs: When you see the yellow, diamond shaped sign that indicates high animal activity, slow down and be on the lookout for wildlife.
  • Watch the Shoulder: If you’re paying really close attention, you may be able to spot an animal on the side of the ride as you’re approaching.
  • Look for the Reflection of Eyes: Unless the animal is really tall like a moose, you can often see the reflection of an animal’s eyes in your headlights when driving at night.
  • Avoid Swerving: Experts recommend braking to avoid hitting an animal, rather than swerving. You could endanger another person’s life by drifting into the opposite lane.

The Most Frequently Hit Animal

Deer are the most commonly hit animal of all wildlife. Unfortunately, their large size makes them almost unavoidable. Male deer can weigh anywhere between 150 and 300 pounds on average, whereas females weight 90 to 200 pounds.

Approximately 80 percent of these collisions involve deer, who can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Although it can cost you thousands of dollars, comprehensive insurance fortunately covers most of the expense. If a deer suddenly appears in the road, hit your brakes and duck down to avoid your face being struck by the glass of a broken windshield.

No matter the cause, car accidents can be devastating. If you’ve been injured, contact our experienced lawyers. You can trust that Trantolo & Trantolo will fight for your rights.