I live in heavily deer infested Central New York in farm country. Whenever you see a deer you can almost always expect to have a few more so never assume it’s just the one you see first. Rare is the time I just see one crossing a road. Also, be especially careful around cornfields since they’re looking for a nibble in there both before and after harvest time.
Animal Encounters on the Road
Animal Encounters on the Road
One sign that autumn has arrived is an increase in animal activity in New York State. Fall is breeding season for the state’s population of about 900,000 deer.
As deer roam looking for a mate, the likelihood of a car collision increases. According to the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 deer-vehicle collisions happen each year in the state.
Fall is also the breeding season for the growing moose population in northern New York State, with moose-vehicle collisions increasing slightly in recent years, the DOT said.
And it’s not just deer and moose. Raccoons, squirrels, foxes, turtles and ducks occasionally share space with cars on the road. So do loose pets, such as cats and dogs, and livestock.
Animals on the road can be unpredictable. Follow AAA’s tips on how to avoid an animal-vehicle collision.
• Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you. Looking ahead helps provide more reaction time if you spot an animal. Also, remember some animals move in groups, so when there is one, there are usually more in the area.
• Use high-beam headlights if there’s no oncoming traffic. You may spot wildlife sooner if using high beams. This will give you time to slow down, move over or honk the horn to scare the animal away. High beams also help with spotting some animals when their eyes reflect light.
• If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or result in a driver losing control of their vehicle.
• Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk. Most animals, especially deer, tend to be more active early in the morning and at dusk.
• Slow down and use extra caution when traveling through areas with a high and active wildlife population. Be aware of increased wildlife movement in some regions during certain times of the year, including hunting or mating season.
• Drivers should always wear a seat belt and remain awake, alert and sober.
If you end up hitting an animal in the road, don’t go near it. A wounded animal can be unpredictable and cause injury. If it’s in the middle of the road and blocking traffic, call the police immediately.
Animal Collisions and Your Insurance
While you may not always be able to avoid colliding with an animal, having the right auto insurance will help if your car ends up damaged. Animal damage falls under comprehensive coverage, which also covers things such as fire, hail and theft.
AAA’s local insurance agents know the challenges of sharing the road with wildlife this time of year. Get a quote today at AAA.com/Insurance.