Accidents caused by encounters with wild animals on the road can be frightening and unpredictable. Whether it is a deer darting across the highway, a raccoon suddenly appearing in your path, or a moose sauntering onto the road, these incidents can result in significant damage to your vehicle and, more importantly, pose serious risks to your safety. In this article, we will explore what to do if you find yourself in an accident caused by a wild animal, insurance coverage options to safeguard your well being, as well as how to stay alert to avoid a wildlife encounter while driving.
Stay Alert and Vigilant
Preventing accidents involving wild animals beings with staying vigilant while you drive, especially in areas that are known for their wildlife activity. That being said, here are some tips to help you stay alert:
Know High Risk Areas
Research and be aware of regions where wildlife collisions are more likely to occur. Many states maintain databases of reported wildlife incidents to help you identify these areas. If you are planning on visiting a national park, it is best to assume that you may encounter some animal activity on the road.
Reduce Your Speed
One of the key steps to take to ensure your safety is to reduce your speed. When you reduce your speed it gives you much more time to react if an animal suddenly appears. When you are driving in an area known for wildlife activity it is crucial that you reduce your speed especially during dawn and dusk.
Use High Beams
Your high beams have a purpose. When driving in a rural or a wooded area at night, your high beams can greatly increase your visibility, making it much easier to spot an animal. However, it is important that you remember to switch back to your low beams when approaching another vehicle.
Pay Attention to Road Signs
Wildlife warning signs are posted for a reason. These areas typically have a much higher likelihood of animal crossings. Be sure that you stay alert and pay close attention to these signs, as they indicate potential danger zones.
Be Extra Cautious in the Mornings and Evenings
Many animals are more active from dusk until dawn. Be sure that you exercise heightened caution during these times as the lack of visibility can make driving more dangerous.
Watch Those Approaching From The Opposite Direction
In a recent case, two motorcyclists were riding on an undivided highway at dusk in an area known to contain wildlife. As they were riding, a deer unexpectedly jumped out in front of them. One of the motorcyclists hit the deer, causing injuries to the motorcyclist. iAs a result of the accident, several vehicles began to back up behind the accident, causing a slow-down on the undivided highway. Another vehicle that was behind those that had slowed or stopped became impatient, and pulled into the oncoming lane to go around the accident scene. Unfortunately, another vehicle was approaching the scene from the opposite direction at a high rate of speed, and the two vehicles collided head on, killing the driving of the oncoming vehicle. It is imperative to use particular caution when approaching the scene of an accident from the other side. Not only did the wildlife cause injuries to the motorcyclist, but it ended up causing an accident that resulted in the death of the individual approaching from the other direction. In these circumstances, slow down, anticipate that others may attempt to go around the accident scene, and use caution and vigilance to reduce your chances of having a similar circumstance happen to you or your passengers.
What To Do If You Encounter a Wild Animal
Despite driving carefully, accidents can still happen. Here are some steps to take if you encounter a wild animal on the road:
Do your best to stay calm and avoid swerving suddenly or sharp braking as these overreactions can lead to further accidents.
Gently apply pressure when you brake to slow down. Slamming down on your breaks can lead to an accident from the car behind you. If you have time to react, honk your horn at the animal to try and scare them away.
Stay in Your Lane
If a collision is imminent, try to stay in your lane as much as possible. If you swerve you may land in oncoming traffic or off the road, as this could lead to a more serious accident.
After the Collision
If you do collide with a wild animal, safely pull over to the side of the road and check yourself for injuries. Be sure that you call for medical assistance if needed, and be sure you contact the local authorities to report the accident.
Insurance Coverage Options
Accidents involving wild animals can result in substantial vehicle damage and potential injuries. However your insurance may cover some of these expenses, as well as have options for compensation:
Collision coverage typically covers the damage to your vehicle resulting from an accident. In most instances, a collision caused by wildlife will be covered by collision coverage or “full coverage” insurance. However, your particular insurance policy may not cover wildlife collisions. You should check with your current insurance provider or an attorney at LifeLaw, who can advise you as to your particular coverage.
While collision coverage covers only damage to your vehicle caused by a collision, comprehensive coverage also protects your vehicle from non-collision events. This coverage can cover your car from hitting an animal, falling objects, or weather related damages.
Accidents involving wild animals can be unnerving, but by staying alert and taking precautions while you drive in high risk areas you can greatly reduce your risk of being involved in these type of accidents. If you do find yourself in a collision with a wild animal, remember to stay calm, follow proper procedures, and contact a personal injury attorney. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate these complex legal aspects and seek the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. LifeLaw Personal Injury’s team of the best personal injury attorneys will help you through the legal process and make sure that you feel heard every step of the way. If you or anyone you know has been injured and it was not