According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, there are an estimated 1 to 2 million collisions between vehicles and large animals every year in the U.S. Wildlife collisions peak in the fall as wildlife moves around more. Now is the time to be extra aware while driving.
Highways are an important part of our country. They allow trucks to transport freight to every corner of the U.S. However, roads and highways cut through many animal habitats. When a highway intersects with an animal’s habitat, it is likely for an accident to occur. Collisions present a danger to humans and wildlife.
Wildlife Accident Impacts
When a collision occurs between a large animal and a vehicle, it causes a safety risk for the driver and animal. Collisions with large animals can result in thousands of dollars of vehicle damage.
One of the biggest impacts of wildlife accidents for truckers are the travel delays an accident can create. Even if the truck isn’t the vehicle that hits the animal, roads can get backed up after an accident, putting the freight delivery off schedule.
If an animal’s body stays in the road after an accident, it can also be the cause of secondary accidents. Keep an eye out for roadkill in the middle of a road to avoid another accident.
Wildlife Accident Prevention
One of the best tips for avoiding collisions with animals is to be aware at all times. Slow down and be observant. Most collisions occur in early morning (5-9 a.m.) and evening (4 p.m. to 12 a.m.) when animals are more active and traffic volume is higher. Pay extra attention during those times. If you see wildlife along the side of the road, slow down immediately because you never know if or when it is going to cut out into the road.
The Federal Highway Administration has also implemented several things to prevent wildlife collisions. Prevention methods include: wildlife fencing, wildlife crossing structures, animal detection systems and public information and education.
According to a study by the Federal Highway Administration, wildlife fencing has reduced collisions by 87 percent on average over the last 20 years.
Check out more driver safety tips in our past blogs: