How To Avoid Wildlife Accidents This Season

You’re driving at dusk to a family Thanksgiving reunion. A few curves ahead a fawn takes a few tentative steps toward the roadway and freezes.

Does it leap across the road or turn tail into the brush? Do you brake suddenly or veer into a passing lane?

This scenario plays out countless times across our landscape every year. Collisions with wildlife can be traumatic, expensive and dangerous.

In 2016, 189 people were killed in a collision with an animal, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This stat has been tracked since 1975, with the deadliest year coming in 2007 (223 deaths).

“It is better to think about and learn how to avoid an encounter with wildlife, than have to react to a dangerous situation when you are unprepared,” according to the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, a group dedicated to preserving fish and wildlife habitats.

Their first suggestion? Slow down. Drivers tend to drive faster when road conditions are favorable.

Other tips for avoiding wildlife come courtesy of Defenders of Wildlife, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting native species throughout North America.

  • Be on high alert when driving in wildlife areas. Reduce your speed and be ready to apply the brakes quickly.
  • Reduce your driving in wildlife areas at night. Wildlife traffic tends to be greatest at dusk and at dawn.
  • Travel in a well-maintained automobile. Make sure your windows are clean, the headlights are bright and the brakes perform optimally.
  • Know about the wildlife in your area, their migration habits and times of year when they may be more likely to appear on roadways.
  • If you see one, expect others. Wildlife often travels in groups.