4 Tips To Keep You From Getting Killed By An Animal While Driving

tips on driving around animals

Have you ever been driving down the road and a coyote, fox, deer or some other animal darts out in front of your vehicle? It happens everyday and sometimes you miss it and it’s road kill. The problem is always going to exist. To avoid a collision with an animal, observe road signs and learn these defensive driving techniques.

1. Don’t risk your life.
It’s a fact that more people are injured and killed from hitting another object when they swerve sharply to avoid an animal, than those that don’t and hit the animal. Always maintain control of your vehicle, sometimes, it may be impossible to avoid a collision with an animal. Your safety should always come before the animals. Don’t veer if it will put you or another motorist in harms way. Colliding with an animal on the road is a comprehensive insurance claim, which is a minimal deductible with no premium increases.

2. Use your lights and put them on high beams when driving in an area with high animal traffic at night.
Of course, don’t use high beams when other cars are approaching. Animals are most active at dawn and dusk – that is also when our eyesight is compromised and headlights are least effective. Try to plan your driving at another time to avoid driving at dawn or dusk.

3. Don’t become distracted.
Cell phones, the radio, dropped objects, and children can be distractions and you’ll be tempted to take your eyes off the road, don’t do it! Always be aware of the road and activity to the side of the road. If you are traveling on a road with heavy brush on the sides, know there is a large possibility you may spot an animal. Some animals eyes have a reflective layer of ocular tissue called tapetum lucidum, it makes their eyes easy to spot at night. Scan the night environment looking for two greenish or yellow dots. Be on alert because some animals travel in a packs, so if you see one – expect more. Practice defensive driving.

4. The speed limit may be 55 or 60 mph, but you should slow way down when traveling at dawn or dusk in high animal traffic areas.
Be especially aware at times of the year when animals are most active. If there is a water source, like a pond or stream, nearby know there is a higher potential to see an animal, so slow down. When you drive at a decreased speed it increases your reaction time. Time is of the essence when reacting to an animal running in front of your vehicle. You may even be able to stop and avoid the collision.

It’s not always possible to avoid a collision but you can always practice good driving techniques for any situation. Take the time to understand the route you’re driving and you won’t be caught off guard next time an animal darts in front of your vehicle. So stay alert, don’t give in to distraction, avoid driving at dawn or dusk, pay attention to road signs warning of animal activity, and please remember your safety comes first.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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