To Swerve or Not to Swerve?
A collision with some form of wildlife occurs, on average, every 39 minutes:
1 out of every 17 car collisions involves wandering wildlife.
89% of all wildlife collisions occur on roads with two lanes.
84% of all wildlife collisions occur in good weather on dry roads.
The average repair cost of a car-deer collision is $2,800.
Approximately 200 motorists die in the United States each year from car-wildlife collisions.
To avoid adding to the above statistics, AAA recommends the following:
Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
Keep your eyes moving back and forth. Continuously sweep your eyes across the road in front of you for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also be alongside the road, so make sure to look to the right and left, as well. While the most likely accident is you hitting an animal, on occasion, they might also hit you by running into the side of your car.
Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m.-prime commuting times for many people.
Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
Slow down around curves. It’s harder to spot animals down the road when going around curves.
Should you swerve if an impact is imminent?
Experts advise that you shouldn’t swerve. Instead, stay in your lane. Swerving away from animals can confuse them, so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause you to crash into something like a lamppost or a tree. Unless that animal you are about to collide with is a 1600 pound moose, then swerving may be a better option if the situation allows for it.
Additionally, always wear a seatbelt. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on. Also never drive drunk, distracted or drowsy.
Consider purchasing comprehensive insurance, if you don’t already have it. Comprehensive insurance is the type of insurance that covers animal strikes.