Colorado has a preponderance of wildlife: deer, moose, elk, pronghorn, sheep, bear and others, to say nothing of livestock. If you’re driving in this state, you’ll find yourself sharing the road with these creatures at some point. When you do, it’s important to conduct yourself safely so you can avoid a collision. Here are some of the best ways to keep the wildlife unharmed and your car undented.
Avoiding collisions is much easier if you have more time to react, and the best way to have more time is to drive more slowly. It seems simple, but it’s the most effective way to not hit animals. If there’s bad weather, slow down even more. The seconds you gain could be crucial.
Use Extra Caution At Dawn And Dusk
You probably know this already, but many large animals are active while the sun is rising and setting, which limits visibility. If you’re driving during these times, pay extra attention to the shoulders and other crossings.
Watch the road ahead for movement. At night, watch for eyes shining in the darkness, and remember: where there’s one animal, there are often more, especially deer and elk. Just because you’ve avoided one doesn’t mean another isn’t waiting right behind it.
You may be tempted to jerk the wheel if an animal leaps into the road at the last second, but don’t do it—you could roll your car and cause a more serious accident. The most important thing is to keep control of your vehicle. If it’s too late to avoid a collision, just hit the brakes, duck down in the seat and keep the vehicle pointed straight.
…Unless It’s A Moose
The only exception is a moose, which is the single animal where it’s actually safer to swerve. Moose are basically like cars on stilts. If you hit one, there’s a high likelihood it will come through the windshield and cause serious—potentially fatal—injuries to you and your passengers. Swerving in this case is the safer option.
Collisions with wildlife are the third most common cause of motor vehicle accidents, after speeding and distracted driving. Not only that, but the vast majority of these accidents occur on dry roads in good weather—people just weren’t paying close enough attention. By following the tips above, you don’t have to be one of those people. By staying alert and keeping your speed reasonable, you’ll be able to safely coexist with Colorado’s wild creatures while enjoying the state’s majesty out the window.