More than one third (36 percent) of all auto claims that result from animal collisions occur on American highways between September and November. Compared to the summer months (June through August), animal collisions increase by 67 percent during the fall because of animal migration patterns, especially for deer and elk. So, when you take those wonderful foliage viewing drives, be extra cautious to look for wildlife running across the roads and highways.
Here are some fall road tips to avoid an accident:
- Wildlife is most active at dusk and dawn, according to the Colorado Parks Department, and the limited light during these times makes it more difficult for drivers to see animals in the road. Plan drives during daylight hours to reduce the risk of animal collision.
- Busy school zones and streets popular with trick-or-treaters make it even more important to remain vigilant while driving. When possible, avoid driving through these areas or consider walking or biking to school or other fall activities.
- Use the middle lane if you’re on a multilane road when possible. This will give you more time to spot an animal that is trying to cross ahead of you.
- Portions of your route to work could convert to school zones during certain hours of the day. Obey all posted speed limits, watch for children in the street and pay extra attention around school buses. It’s illegal in all 50 states to pass a bus that is loading or unloading children on an undivided roadway.
- If you hit an animal, pull over and call local law enforcement. They can direct you to your next step. In some states, there are special requirements regarding animal collisions. Once home, check with your department of motor vehicles to make sure you’ve covered all your bases