All drivers have had that scary moment when an animal of some type has run out in front of them as they were driving down the road. That instant adrenaline rush as you attempt to miss the poor creature without having an accident is hard to forget. However with a little common sense and knowledge you can stay safe even if you can’t avoid the accident.
Be Alert and Visually Scan Ahead of You
It is easy to fall into “automatic” mode while driving as your mind runs through all of the things you have to do, or places that you have to be; especially when driving on a rural road or at night. But, these are the times when you need to remain the most alert. Staying alert and visually scanning the road in front of you continuously is the best way to avoid an accident of any kind. When animals are involved, this is the best way to avoid a collision. Being vigilant about staying alert to your surroundings provides you with more response time in order to react to obstacles that might suddenly appear in front of you.
What can you do if there is an animal on the roadway in front of you?
If you see an animal on the road in front of you, you should;
- Immediately slow down and if possible to stop without causing an accident from behind, stop.
- Safely change lanes to an unobstructed lane. This doesn’t mean to cut off traffic in the next lane as you try to avoid the obstacle. It means check first and if it’s safe to change lanes then do, and only if the animal is not moving in the direction of that lane.
- Honk your horn. Although this method will not work with all animals, it is always a good idea to try and scare the animal away as you slow down, before attempting to relocate yourself.
- Use high beams. As long as there is no oncoming traffic, the use of high beams is completely acceptable on dark roads in order to provide you with a better visual range while scanning the path in front of you.
- DO NOT swerve. Swerving to miss an animal is actually more dangerous than if you hit the animal. Swerving could land you in a ditch, cause you to hit another vehicle, or even cause you to hit the animal. Statistics prove that swerving to miss an animal causes more damage and injury than not swerving.
Animals whether wild or domestic, are a serious danger when driving. That is why it is so vital to pay close attention to your surroundings, as well as know what to do if you happen to come in contact with an animal while you are driving. If you keep these simple tips in mind as you travel along those country roads, you will have a much safer and enjoyable trip.