5 Tips to Avoid Animal-Vehicle Collisions
With animal-vehicle collision claims on the rise, stay safe and follow these best practices
Throughout the year, thousands of animal-vehicle collisions happen across the United States. Encountering wildlife while driving can be dangerous and scary. Often animals will suddenly jump onto a roadway or find themselves in busy, urban areas and in harm’s way.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), animal-related insurance claims topped over one million in just four years. Between the years of 2014-2017, an estimated 1.7 million animal-related insurance claims were processed, 99 percent of which involved vehicles. The top three animals involved in vehicle collisions were deer (584,165), raccoons (22,644), and dogs (20,610).
Knowing what to do when you encounter a large animal on or near a roadway can save your life. Here are five tips that can reduce your risk on the road:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Take extra precaution if you are driving in rural countryside, heavily wooded areas, or near bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, or rivers. Watch for wildlife road signs and take the warnings seriously.
- Look ahead and scan the road. Always keep your eyes on the road ahead of you so you can have enough reaction time if you spot an animal. Many animals travel in packs, so look out for more. Ask your passenger to be your co-pilot and a second set of eyes.
- Use extra caution at dawn and dusk. Many animals, including deer, tend to be more active in the early mornings and evenings. If you drive at night, watch for glowing eyes and utilize your high-beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic.
- Use your horn. If you see an animal standing on or near the road, flash your lights or honk your horn in a series of short bursts to encourage them to move away. Some animals tend to freeze in place, as they’re mesmerized by the lights. Give them a honk to scare them away.
- Stay in control. If a collision is unavoidable, remain calm and check your rear-view mirror. When it is safe to do so, apply the brakes firmly and stay in your lane. Do not swerve to avoid the animal, as that can often lead to a more serious crash or lost control of the vehicle. Ease up on the brake just before you come in contact with the animal.
Animal-related losses are very common auto insurance claims, so make sure to review your auto insurance and make sure you have adequate coverage. To learn more, contact your Capital Insurance Group Independent Agent. Not insured with us? To get started, visit www.ciginsurance.com/agency-locator.