According to a Northwest Florida Daily News article posted in February, a 26-year-old male from Crestview, was traveling northbound on Airport Road in a 2013 Civic around 5:45 p.m., when he entered a slight left-hand curve and a dog ran into his path. He swerved to avoid the dog and thus traveled into the pathway of 38-year-old male from Niceville, who was driving southbound on Airport Road in a 2002 Hyundai. The Hyundai was unable to avoid the collision and the Civic struck the front of the Hyundai. Both vehicles came to a final rest within the area of impact. The driver of the Civic and two of his passengers had serious injuries. A third passenger was listed with minor injuries. The driver of the Hyundai had no injuries. A 2-year-old passenger had minor injuries and a second passenger was transported with critical injuries. Both vehicles were totaled, the release said.
According to AAA, animal-vehicle collisions are not only costly, but can be dangerous. From 2001 to 2011, animal collisions contributed to more than 2080 fatal crashes nationwide. Whether a deer, dog, moose or squirrel, animals on the roadway are unexpected and their actions can be erratic and unpredictable, creating a dangerous situation for motorists. AAA encourages drivers to use caution and remain alert to avoid becoming involved in a collision due to wildlife.
Esurance gives us a guide to animal-related accidents and how to avoid them
How to avoid hitting an animal
Familiarize yourself with the area
If you know what to expect on the road, chances are you’ll be better prepared for any surprises. For example, if you like to travel in the fall observing fall foliage, it’d help to know if the area you’re visiting has a healthy deer population. Fall is deer mating season. And the more deer (especially mating deer) there are, the higher the risk for an accident.
As for your own neck of the woods, learn which roads wildlife like to use and stay alert when you use them. Roads with woods on either side are likely crossing spots for animals of all shapes and sizes.
Don’t drive distracted
Distracted driving is dangerous. Because a crossing animal requires instant maneuvering on your part, place your cell phone out of reach, and keep your eyes on the road.
On many roads that crawl with wildlife, speed limits are lowered to prevent animal-related accidents. So don’t discount those curiously low speed limits. They’re there to help give you enough time to stop should an animal run out in front of you.
Brake, don’t swerve
If there’s enough distance between you and the animal, tap the brakes (to warn any drivers behind you), honk, then brake.
If the collision seems unavoidable, don’t swerve. Swerving could cause an even bigger accident. Instead, stay in control of your vehicle, slow down as much as possible, and report the accident to the police and your insurer.