There are over half a million large animal/car collisions each year. A significant number of these accidents involve fatalities – both animal and human – and most involve major vehicle damage.
While these incidents are typically covered by comprehensive auto insurance, the best option is to avoid the accident altogether. Here are tips to prevent an animal/car collision, plus the appropriate steps to take if you encounter Bambi, Smokey, or one of their pals.
Be alert during peak times: Deer in particular, but other large animals as well, are generally active shortly before and after sunrise and from sunset to midnight. Remain alert for animal crossings during these hours.
Wait for the others: Bears often come with cubs, and deer rarely run around alone. If you catch sight of one animal in your headlights, there may be others nearby. Proceed with caution.
Use lights, not devices: High-beam headlights can illuminate animals’ eyes, but devices such as deer whistles and reflectors have not been proven effective in preventing collisions.
Brake, don’t swerve: A driver’s instinct may be to swerve out of the lane to avoid an animal, possibly putting the driver in the line of opposing traffic, or causing him or her to veer off the road and roll over. Instead, hit the brakes – hard.
Contact your insurance carrier: If you are in a collision with a large animal, contact your insurance company to report the accident and begin the claims process as soon as possible. Your agent will help walk you through the appropriate steps to make repairs to your vehicle.