Winter Car Accident Stats: Collisions with Wild Animals
Wildlife poses a significant threat to drivers, particularly during the winter months when the days are short and the nights are long. Below, we discuss statistics related to this occurrence and how to protect yourself on dark roads.
How Often Do Collisions with Wild Animals Happen?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, there are approximately one to two million collisions between cars and large animals every year in the U.S. Eighty-nine percent of these collisions occur on two-lane roads. Some may think this means these collisions are only prevalent on rural roads. However, they typically happen in areas where many people live and commute to work in nearby cities. In fact, drivers in the U.S. use two-lane roads for the majority of the total highway miles they travel.
Collisions with wild animals can have serious consequences. Approximately 4-10% of these collisions result in injuries to drivers, which amounts to around 26,000 injuries per year. Additionally, the cost is significant to local wildlife and conservation efforts. Some species have experienced major threats due to vehicle collisions, including the Hawaiian goose, the desert tortoise, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the California tiger salamander.
How to Prevent Collisions with Wild Animals
There are several measures that local transportation authorities should take to prevent collisions with wildlife. One such measure is installing wildlife fencing. However, this fencing must give animals safe crossing opportunities to access habitats on the other side of the road. Otherwise, animals may try to break through the barrier.
Other measures include installing signage on the road that indicates wildlife population and the number of miles ahead that such animals may be present.
However, these measures are not foolproof. It’s also up to the motorist to drive cautiously on dark, winding roads and keep an eye on the side of the road where animals may be waiting to cross. Watch out for animals’ eyes that often shine in the dark and drive cautiously if you see this warning sign.
Despite all of these safety measures, accidents may still happen. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, our Mississippi personal injury attorneys are here to help.