As days become shorter with the end of daylight savings time, motorists in New York and other states may notice an increase in wildlife activity on or near the roadway. The annual return to standard time places many commuters behind the wheel at dusk and dawn when wild animals are likely to be on the move. With property losses due to wildlife-related crashes averaging more than $3,400 per incident, motorists everywhere may want to take precautions to mitigate the risks posed by unexpected animal encounters while driving.
One agency advises motorists to simply slow down, stay alert and scan ahead. Moderate speeds allow a driver to better avoid the need to suddenly swerve, which increases the chance of a serious accident. Drowsy driving may result in slow reaction times, and even large animals may be difficult to discern in low light conditions until they are caught in the headlights of a rapidly approaching car.
Careful observation of the roadside ahead may help drivers perceive approaching wildlife, and flashing headlights or a honking horn could alert both animals and other drivers to a potentially dangerous situation. Although driving defensively could help prevent many accidents, some wildlife-related collisions may be unavoidable due to the unpredictable nature of wild animals.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of seat belts significantly reduces the risk of loss when auto accidents do occur. Even with the conscientious use of seat belts, however, some people may still be seriously injured due to the reactions of other drivers who unexpectedly encounter animals on the road. In some situations, a personal injury lawyer may be able to litigate the matter in civil court, establish liability in the case, and secure a satisfactory recovery on behalf of an injured client.