American drivers travel more than 13,000 miles year on average, so they see a lot on their trips. It’s also one of the last locations you want to run into animal pals when travelling at speeds of 40, 50, or even 60 or more mph. Although it poses a severe safety risk and claims both human and animal lives, we almost ever pause to contemplate how serious the problem is. Over 260,000 animal-related crashes occur each year, resulting in 12,000 human injuries and over 150 fatalities.
It’s critical that we remove wildlife from roads properly to prevent heartbreaking figures like the ones above, where they may suffer harm and endanger cars.
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How frequently do animals come close to our roads, shoulders, and medians? Do we all employ the same strategies to stay away from these beings? Are there any regions in the United States where animal-related accidents are more prone to occur? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions and how more than 1,000 other Americans feel after meeting an animal on the road.
Deer was the most frequently observed animal by respondents, which may not come as a surprise given that there are over 30 million of them in the United States. Despite their majestic appearance, deer accidents are expensive. $4 billion is spent every year on animal collisions.
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Squirrels, cats, dogs, and birds were a few of the other commonly sighted animals. Researchers say it will be difficult to help make sure these creatures are safe on the road today and in the future, especially with the introduction of driverless automobiles. This is because drivers must often make educated guesses about what to do when they see an animal on or near the road. The first step in keeping the pathways open for all the creatures we encounter is to pay attention.
There are precautions you may take to guarantee the safety of both you and the wildlife, according to the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program:
- Be alert to warning signs for wildlife
- Observe your speed
- Be defensive when driving, not offensive.
- Ask yourself if it is safe to make a swerve.
- Consider “what if” an animal ran onto the road. How would you react?
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The deer is the animal that is hit by a car the most frequently in more than seventy percent of the states. Deer is the most common animal to be struck by a car, from some of the most remote states, like Alaska, to some of the sandiest, like Florida. Unbelievably, birds are the animals that drivers hit the most in five states: Hawaii, Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, and Delaware. Over 340 million birds each year were said to be killed on American roads in 2014. According to USA Today, increased bird fatalities are a result of larger rural roads and greater speed restrictions. Not all animals need to be on the ground to be hit; even large birds like barn owls can be hit by a fast-moving car if they are flying low.
Coyote and squirrels were the most often struck mammals in at least two states, but only one state, Wyoming, ranked first for cat strikes. Between 2011 and 2015, there were approximately 12,000 motor vehicle collisions with animals in this state. Since 2006, these collisions have caused just over 20 fatalities among people.
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The most common species our respondents struck was a squirrel. Everywhere you’d expect them to be—neighborhoods, country roads, and highways—were the most common places where drivers struck these animals, making it perilous for squirrels everywhere.
For practically every creature, neighborhoods and country roads turned out to be battlegrounds. On certain roadways, animals were hit more frequently than usual, including skunks, dogs, cats, deer, and birds.
Nobody desires to hurt an animal. For the driver and other passengers, it can be frightening and even tragic. Most drivers take all reasonable precautions to avoid colliding with animals on the road, but in that split second, they are forced to make a difficult decision.
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It’s possible to run across both small (such as dogs, squirrels, and bunnies) and huge (such as bears, deer, and moose) animals while driving. There are various schools of thought regarding how to safely avoid one of these animals on the road due to the variance in size.
Among the 1,000 people surveyed in the United States, more than 40% thought hitting a small animal was the safest method to avoid an accident. Although it’s not ideal, swerving increases the risk of losing control of the car. Nobody wants to hurt or kill a small animal. An ensuing collision may harm other drivers or pedestrians, or even worse, result in fatalities.
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Unfortunately, law enforcement experts claim that occasionally beating an animal is the best form of self-defense. This is even more true for larger animals like deer, where depending on the vehicle, the average car repair can cost close to $3,000 or more. Less than 10% of people would choose to strike a larger animal, nevertheless. Additionally, if no one is following you and it is safe to do so, authorities advise applying the brakes. When it comes to a larger animal, more than 60% of our respondents said they favored this method. Of course, the ideal situation would be to keep both you and the animal safe, but occasionally that isn’t an option.
Nearly 80% of drivers claimed to have experienced a “near-miss” with an animal on the road. This means that a lot of us have encountered the terrifying situation at least once, where we were forced to choose between four or five possible responses and had only a moment to act. If you make the right choice, the animal will be safe, and you and everyone in your car can drive away. However, making the wrong decision could result in the loss of loved ones, pets, and money.
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What did most persons who had “near-misses” choose to do? Nearly 45 percent swerved to avoid the animal while remaining on the road. After that, it was decided to take no action in the hopes that the animal would run off the road, which it thankfully did. Those who didn’t select one of those options were more likely to slam on the brakes to prevent a collision veer off the road or use another strategy.
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