As daylight hours grow shorter, motorists should be aware of the risk posed by wildlife who may wander across the roadway. The return of standard time coincides with wildlife mating season in Pennsylvania and other states across the nation, so deer and other types of animals are likely to be active when drivers are making their daily commutes in low daylight conditions.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, an average of 3,300 wildlife-related collisions are reported in that state each year. In response, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has published a list of precautions for motorists that may prove beneficial to drivers everywhere who are likely to encounter wildlife on the nation's highways and streets.
The agency advises motorists to slow down, stay alert and scan ahead. Traveling at a safe speed gives a driver time to respond appropriately to wildlife on the roadway. Wild animals are most active between dusk and dawn, and an alert driver is more likely to notice the reflection of eyes and subtle signs of movement along the edge of the road than a driver who is preoccupied or drowsy.
Honking a vehicle's horn and flashing its headlights may alert both wildlife and other drivers of a potential hazard. Motorists are also advised to notice and obey wildlife warning signs as speed limits may be lowered in areas where animals are active in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of an accident. Because serious injury or death is less likely when seatbelts are used, drivers are urged to buckle up as an added precaution.
When a motorist in Pennsylvania suffers catastrophic injuries as the result of a wild animal that has taken another driver by surprise, that person may be entitled to financial compensation for the loss. In some situations, a personal injury attorney may be able to pursue justice in the form of damages in court on a client's behalf.