Steering Clear of Wildlife
When driving Oklahoma roads, you have had to avoid hitting deer and other animals on the road. America’s roads are full of cars — but often, they are also full of wildlife. U.S. Department of Agriculture each year records about 2 million vehicle-animal collisions. Fall and winter constitute the most dangerous periods for these incidents. Thank shorter days and inclement weather for reduced visibility. Spring and fall are also many animals’ migration and mating seasons. But, you can still take steps to decrease the chances you will hit an animal.
Here are five things ways to help avoid hitting deer and animals on the road:
- Be particularly alert for deer at dawn and dusk.
Visibility is low at these times, and animal activity is high. Deer tend to be around at dusk and dawn. Raccoons, skunks, and possums tend to be nocturnal road crossers.
- Keep an eye out for animal crossing signs.
If you are in an area where wildlife is common, you may see posted warnings. Look for deer crossing signs as well as duck, horse, cows, and pet crossing signs.
- Watch your speed.
Avoiding any kind of collision is easier if you are traveling at an appropriate rate of speed. And, it is not just about the speed limit. In certain conditions, driving under the speed limit is more optimal.
- See an animal? Look for more.
Missing one animal does not mean you are out of the woods, so to speak. There are probably others around. Deer tend to be in groups. In the spring and early summer, it is common to see turtles crossing roads.
- Do not swerve.
If possible, do not make any wild maneuvers. You could end up hitting something worse than an animal — like another car. A worse case could find you going into a ditch or down an embankment. Use your brakes, use your horn, and use your good judgment.
Sometimes Collisions are Unavoidable
If you do hit a deer or other animal, here is what to do next:
- Call 911 for help, especially if there are injuries to you or passengers.
- Do not touch the animal. Wounded animals can be dangerous.
- Document the accident scene and the damage to your car.
- Get in touch with your insurance carrier or with us.
Everyday Safe Driving Habits Help You Avoid Hitting Deer and Other Animals:
- Remain alert
- Maintain a safe speed for conditions
- Avoid distractions
Also, be sure to carry adequate car insurance. That way you are covered in case something – animal-related or otherwise – happens.