Online Originals: How can drivers avoid animals on the road?

Online Originals

GREENVILLE N.C. (WNCT) -We’ve all been driving and come across an animal on the side of the road.

Some of us may have unfortunately been the ones to hit said animal.

It’s a sad sight, but it happens all too often.

According to a patch.com article, North Carolina drivers have a 1 in 76 chance of hitting an animal while driving.

The odds of a driver in the U.S. hitting an animal are in 1 in 116, according to State Farm insurance.

Although that might sound like the odds are unlikely, that same article compared it to some State Farm statistics.

1 in 175 Americans have a chance of being audited by the IRS, there’s a 1 in 563 chance of catching a ball during a Major League Baseball game, and a 1 in 215 chance of dating someone who’s a millionaire.

All of these statistics prove there’s a much higher chance of hitting an animal while driving.

A State Farm map showing state statistics for animal collisions (photo credit: State Farm Insurance).

While the chances of hitting an animal while driving in North Carolina aren’t great, here are the top ten states with the greatest chances of a car animal collision.

  1. West Virginia (1 in 38)
  2. Montana (1 in 48)
  3. Pennsylvania (1 in 52)
  4. South Dakota (1 in 54)
  5. Iowa (1 in 55)
  6. Wyoming (1 in 56)
  7. Wisconsin (1 in 57)
  8. Michigan (1 in 60)
  9. Mississippi (1 in 61)
  10. Minnesota (1 in 64)

So how can drivers help lower these statistics?

In the Fall and Winter months, bucks look for mates. They might come into contact with vehicles if they’re competing with another buck or chasing a female deer.

Wind and weather patterns might also make it difficult for animals walking and flying to control their direction.

Highways and other road structures are constantly being added to help drivers get to destinations.

With this, comes confusion to animals who might not be familiar with the new roads.

A 2017 Colorado study found that most of the animals killed in the state were deer, porcupines, owls, badgers, and weasels.

What can drivers do to ensure they avoid animals while driving?

“Speed is the main thing, and your headlights. At night time if you burn your headlights, if you can in a rural area…use your bright lights…it’ll help you spot the deer earlier. Reduce your speed. If you see the eyes reflecting, even if they’re not on the road way, they may run out in front of you.”

– Brad Taylor, NC State Master Trooper

Patch.com says the most important thing to do is slow down.

If a driver is in an area with a “deer-crossing” sign, keeping an extra careful eye on your surroundings and speed is key.

Car lights are important too.

Although you don’t want to blind other drivers with your headlights, high beams will help you see what’s in front of you and in ditches near the road.

Drivers should be more attentive on the roads during sunset and sunrise, as this is when deer are most active for their mealtime.

Lastly, when drivers come across an animal, they usually swerve to avoid hitting them.

This isn’t a good idea.

Instead, patch.com says to brake firmly, and hold your steering wheel while staying in your lane.

And always, never forget to wear a seat belt.

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