Defensive Driving Tips - Avoiding Wildlife
Becoming a defensive driver is something that one acquires throughout their years of operating a vehicle. I remember my grandfather telling me as a teenager to "drive defensively" to "always be looking around at others so you are prepared for anything." Making sure you are aware of your surroundings is one way to help defensive driving, especially when driving through areas that have a high deer/wildlife population. Hitting a deer can not only injure the animal, yourself and any passengers in your vehicle but it could end up costing you a small fortune to fix any damage to your car as well. Coverage for hitting an animal is found under the comprehensive portion of your auto policy, so you are not subject to a deductible if you hit the animal. Here are a few ways to avoid hitting a deer or any other wildlife:
- When you are driving at night and there is no oncoming traffic, it is advisable to use your high beam headlights. The light will help illuminate the eyes of a deer on or close to the road that you are traveling on.
- Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones. Areas that are highly populated with deer are usually close to agricultural fields or forests and are designated with a deer crossing caution sign. They don't put those signs there for good looks! If you see the sign, head it as a warning and proceed with caution knowing deer could be around!
- Deer usually like to travel between sunset and a few hours before sunrise, because it is easier for them to move about without being spotted by predators. If you are out and about during those times just be aware that you are not the only one traveling and keep your eyes peeled.
- If you notice a deer in your path, stay in your lane so you do not endanger cars that are coming in the opposite direction. Brake firmly and sound your horn to try and startle or scare the deer off.
- Anytime you are operating a vehicle it is highly beneficial and legally required, in most states, to wear a seatbelt. Most deer related accidents and injuries to motorists are because a seat belt was not being worn at the time of the accident.
- If your vehicle does strike a deer it is important that you do not touch the animal. Get your car off of the road if possible and call the police to report the incident. If there are any damages to your car be sure to call your Massachusetts auto insurance agent to discuss filing a claim and to get help with the process.
Always be looking for potential driving threats whether it be an animal or a bouncing ball in the street (which usually means it is being followed by a child). Following these defensive driving tips can save yourself and others!