Safety Tips

Tips to Avoid Wildlife Vehicle Collisions on the Road

Scot Barney
10 minutes

Tips to Avoid Wildlife Vehicle Collisions on the Road

It is a grim reality that some critters seem to be worse than others at crossing the road. Geese, opossums, bunnies, and raccoons don’t seem to be very good at it. I think deer are probably the worst. It doesn’t help that they are just the right height and weight to tear up a bumper or headlight. All of the research that I could find on deer whistles said that they aren’t effective at highway speeds. I haven’t talked to other drivers about them and would be curious about their results. I’ve never used them and have had more than my share of deer strikes. If you have experience with deer whistles, please share your feedback.

According to a study, an estimated 1-2 million wildlife vehicle collisions (WVC) occur in the U.S. every year, causing approximately 200 human deaths, 26,000 injuries, and at least $8 billion in property damage. In rural states, WVCs represent almost 20% of all crashes. West Virginia tops the list with a 1 in 37 chance of hitting an animal. Here are the top 10 states:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Montana
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. South Dakota
  5. Michigan
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Iowa
  8. Mississippi
  9. Minnesota
  10. Wyoming
Here are some tips from The Humane Society of the United States to help mitigate the risk:
  • Drive the speed limit.
  • Watch for wildlife at dawn, dusk, and the first few hours after dark. Where there is one, there are probably more.
  • Be especially cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields, or where streams cross under the road.
  • Keep up a visual scan 12-15 seconds ahead or as far as visibility allows and avoid unnecessary distractions.
  • Use your high beams whenever possible to extend your visibility.
  • Lower the lights on your dash and in your cab to cut glare.

Stay vigilant and drive safely to help protect both yourself and the wildlife around you.

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