Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hudson Valley- Poughkeepsie Region Avoiding Animal-Related Accidents

It doesn't matter what part of the world you live in, there are undoubtedly free-roaming animals in residence that have caused havoc with local traffic. In the U.S. alone, the National Safety Council reported over a half-million animal-related auto accidents in 2003-a trend that has increased with time. Whether you live in an area populated with deer, moose, cows, turkeys, or any animal substantial enough to do damage to your vehicle, there are steps you can take to avoid a costly collision with wildlife:
  1. Animal-related auto accidents tend to occur before and directly after sunrise- be especially on the lookout when driving at this time of day.
  2. Drive carefully in posted animal crossing zones-these areas are known for large populations of a particular species such as deer, for example.
  3. If it is dark out, use your high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. Animal eyes shine in the dark, and you have a better chance of spotting them at a distance.
  4. If an animal is close by, honk your horn and flash your high beams to scare it off. You've heard the term 'deer in headlights', flashing your lights should break the trance and effect action.
  5. If an animal is on or near the road, stay in your lane and brake firmly without locking up your brakes. At a slower speed you will have more time to consider- and take-the proper course of action.
  6. This last tip is an obvious but important one: always wear your seatbelt. Hitting an animal at any rate of speed can cause injury-even death.
Although mostly common sense, these tips are important to keep at top-of-mind when driving. Often, we only consider other drivers as a source of danger on the road, but the reality is that animals are unpredictable and many times we don't even realize that they are there. Awareness and preparedness are the keys to safety.