During the fall months, drivers face an increased risk of animal-related crashes as deer and other wildlife begin to migrate and find their way onto highways and into suburban neighborhoods.
As a result, more animal collisions occur in this period than any other time of the year.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are more than half-a-million deer-vehicle collisions each year. In Arizona last year, the average animal-related auto claim for AAA Insurance customers was $3,941.
“Although deer and other animals are unpredictable, there are actions you can take to help prevent an accident or reduce the damage from an animal collision,” said Aldo Vazquez, AAA Arizona spokesperson.
AAA Arizona offers the following tips to avoid an animal collision:
• Be attentive in the early morning and evening. Many animals, especially deer, are most active during prime commuting hours — roughly 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Slow down and watch for other deer to appear. Continuously sweep your eyes across the road for signs of animals. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be one or more nearby.
• Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. At night, your brights can help you spot animals sooner.
The light reflecting off their eyes may also reveal their location.
• Honk your horn with one long blast. A long blast on your horn may frighten large animals away from your vehicle.
• Use brakes if impact is imminent. If an animal is in your path, stay in your lane. Swerving away from animals can confuse them, so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles.
• Always wear a seatbelt. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt.
• Consider comprehensive insurance coverage. Animal collisions are covered by most auto insurance policies, but only if the vehicle has comprehensive coverage. Contact your insurance agent to ensure you have adequate coverage.
If you’re involved in a crash:
• Call law enforcement immediately to help remove the animal.
• Make note of date, time, location, weather and road conditions.
• Take photographs, when safe to do so, to document the incident for insurance purposes as animal collisions are covered by most insurance policies through comprehensive coverage.
For more information on auto, homeowners, and other personal insurance lines, contact your local AAA office or visit AAA.com.
This article was submitted by AAA Arizona.