Pennsylvania’s wooded terrain is home to a considerable amount of wildlife. That can be a problem in the springtime for drivers when deer with young families are on the move. A chance encounter with a deer or some other critter crossing the road can lead to a serious accident that will total your car and leave you battered and bruised.
In Pennsylvania, your odds of hitting a deer are about one in 52 — which is more than double the one in 116 average around the nation. (Only drivers in West Virginia and Montana have it worse.) That means it’s smart to keep the following spring safety tips in mind when you’re driving on roads where wildlife might be nearby:
- Slow down. You can’t stop in time to avert an accident if you’re traveling too fast.
- Pay attention to signs. Those “wildlife crossing” signs are there for a purpose.
- Rely on your senses. Keep your eyes on the road and watch for the shining eyes of animals near the road when the light is dim.
- Keep your high beams on if conditions make it safe to do so. They can help you spot animals in the road from a much further distance than your regular lights do.
- Avoid rural areas around dusk. That’s when the majority of wildlife travels.
- Wear your seat belt. An accident may be unavoidable. Your seat belt can protect you from worse injuries.
- If you do see an animal in the road, press your brakes and try to stop — but don’t cross into the next lane if there is oncoming traffic. That’s how encounters like these turn deadly.
Unfortunately, you can do everything right and still end up in a wreck. Another driver may panic when they see a deer in the road and careen right into your path. If you’re injured by another driver’s negligence, remember that you have the right to seek fair compensation for your losses.