AVOIDING COLLISIONS WITH ANIMALS
This article will look more at what NOT do to when presented with a potential animal collision. While these types of accidents are not very frequent within the pool, they have the potential to result in devasting consequences, if drivers do not react properly. One serious consequence could be the loss of human life.
A recent member loss example from October: “Employee was headed south on Canal Street, when an animal ran in front of vehicle, causing employee to lose control of vehicle and land in ditch. 2000 Ford F-150 received damages to front bumper, passenger side headlight, cracked windshield, rear bumper and tailgate fail off.”
This presents us with a question. To swerve or not to swerve?
It is impossible to predict what animals will do, so sometimes these collisions are truly unavoidable. No one wants to take the life of someone’s pet or a wild animal. However, when presented with a truly unavoidable animal collision, the best practice is to “stay the course”. Stay in your lane and apply slow controlled braking, grip the steering wheel firmly with both hands to avoid losing control of your vehicle, even if it means hitting the animal.
The worst choice you can make is to lock your brakes and swerve. This could put your vehicle into oncoming traffic, causing a head on collision, or into the right of way or shoulder, where there could be pedestrians on sidewalks, structures, trees, other vehicles, or bodies of water. Drivers often over correct during a swerve maneuver, causing a rollover with high profile vehicles and even passenger cars.
Practicing situational awareness can also help minimize the chances of an animal collision. Pay attention in rural areas where animal crossing signs are posted. Many wild animals are nocturnal, so be very alert from dusk to dawn. Stay alert in urban areas and watch for the stray pet that may be off a leash. Maintain the proper following distance from other vehicles in front of you and observe the proper speed for the conditions. Avoid distractions and be attentive, constantly scanning the road ahead.
By applying some of these techniques, loss-of-control crashes, due to animals in the roadway, can be avoided and the resulting damage minimized. Do not jeopardize your life and the life of others, by swerving to save a pet, a squirrel, a bird, or a deer. “Stay the course” and stay in your lane of travel.
By Steve Gailbreath, Loss Prevention Consultant, PRM