According to Tennessee.gov there have been 115 vehicle crashes involving deer so far this year in Davidson and Shelby counties and 46 in Knox county. These numbers are only expected to increase as the number of accidents involving deer typically doubles during the fall and winter. While deer are not the only animals drivers should be aware of, they are involved in most of the animal vs vehicle accidents.
Due to the unpredictability of animals, there is no way to know how any given animal is going to react when it encounters a vehicle. However, there are ways you can avoid contact with animals while driving. In addition, there are certain protocols you must follow if you are involved in an accident.
Some ways you can avoid an accident involving an animal are:
Use common sense: be alert and use the tools you’re given
While driving (especially in non-optimal driving conditions like adverse weather and while at dusk and/or at night), you should always be aware of your surroundings. Animals are unpredictable and can appear when you are not expecting them.
In addition, when it is appropriate, you should choose your brightest headlights because they will provide you with the largest field of vision. Moreover, the more you can see the better chance you have of avoiding a collision if an animal wanders in your path.
Reduce your speed and stay straight
Especially when you’re in rural areas, you should exercise caution with your speed. If you’re driving at a slower speed and an animal crosses your path, you’ll be more likely to be able to slow down before impact.
If you find yourself in a situation where you could hit an animal, avoid swerving to the shoulder. Doing this could cause loss of control leading to an accident.
If you’ve struck an animal with your vehicle:
Avoid touching dead or wounded animals
You should never touch an animal you’ve hit because you can never tell that it’s dead. You could attempt to touch a dead animal only to find a critically wounded (and scared) animal who attacks you. Moreover, you should also exercise caution when exiting your vehicle—this is especially true if you’re stopped in an area with other traffic.
Make a police report
Just as with any accident, you should contact your local police to file a report; however you should also follow these safety precautions after experiencing an accident. Filing a police accident report is the easiest way to handle an insurance dispute; moreover, it stands as proof of an accident. You should make sure to document your accident (with pictures) and file a claim with your insurance company.
You can read here for more information about auto accidents or you can browse our blog or knowledge center for information on other legal questions you may have. And if you’re involved in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact car accident attorneys at Nashville’s Gilreath & Associates today for a free consultation.