Encountering wildlife when you’re driving can be terrifying at the moment. To avoid hitting an animal with your car, know when peak animal activity times are. Knowing when to be on high alert and some animal behaviors can help you avoid an accident. You need to weigh your options based on the type of animal and surrounding traffic. And finally, commit to your decision and follow through whether it be hitting the animal or trying to avoid it. Hopefully, you won’t ever encounter any animals while driving, but if so, you can be more prepared.

How-to: Avoid Hitting an Animal With Your Car: Avoiding Wildlife

Be Aware of Peak Times for Wildlife

The most important thing to avoid hitting an animal with your car is to always be alert when driving. Make sure you’re taking note of your surroundings and have an idea of the traffic around you at all times. Knowing when peak wildlife times can be might help you avoid a collision. Early morning and dusk are times when wildlife like deer are most active. When you drive during these times, be on the lookout. If you are traveling at night, always use your headlights, and if you are alone on the road, use your brights. Also, remember that deer travel in herds. If you spot one on the side of the road, there are probably others nearby.

Weigh Your Options

Depending on the size, you may want to prepare to run into it rather than avoid hitting an animal with your car. Sometimes, swerving can be much more dangerous than simply hitting the animal. If you are traveling slowly and do not have other cars around you, it might be safe to go around the animal. If you are traveling quickly and have cars nearby, it might be safer to simply hit the animal. It is unfortunate, but your life is more important. And swerving could cause other drivers around you to be injured if you lose control of your car. If the animal is small like a squirrel or dog, as sad as it is, it’s best to keep moving and simply hit it. If the animal is larger like a deer or elk, try to lay on your horn to encourage it to move aside quickly.

Follow Through

Sometimes, trying to avoid hitting an animal with your car is impossible and you are forced to drive into it. If so, brake as much as possible without causing your car to skid. Then, brace for impact. Try to sit lower in your seat so you’re not as exposed to the windshield, as larger animals can cause damage to windshields. If you do hit the animal, be very careful if you try to approach it. Even a dog can be aggressive when injured, so it’s best to contact animal control to get help for the animal or remove it from the road. Observe the road conditions. If you are moving slowly enough and are alone on the road, you might consider avoiding the animal. If you feel it’s safe to avoid the animal, brake as much as possible and use the center lane if needed. Just make sure that you are in a safe position to do this and will not risk losing control of your car or hitting another vehicle. Hitting an animal when you’re driving is scary and can be very traumatic. Sometimes it’s possible to avoid hitting an animal with your car if you are moving slowly and are alone on the road. But other times, a collision is unavoidable. Know which situation is safer and know when to be on the lookout for more animal activity. Hopefully, being prepared will help you remain calm if you do encounter an animal on the road.