According to officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the chances of an auto accident involving wild animals increase during this time of year. Low visibility brought on by longer dark hours combined with increased animal activity make the winter months extremely dangerous for drivers and wildlife alike. “It’s going to be obviously most dangerous at dusk and dawn,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Cody Wigner. “This time of year, the days are getting shorter and people are commuting to and from work at those times.”
In Colorado, auto crashes involving wild animals are the third leading cause of accidents after speeding and distracted driving. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, collisions with animals result in an average cost of over $3,000. Colorado drivers are involved in an annual average of 3,605 accidents involving wildlife, the majority of which involve deer or elk. Collisions with these large animals can injure or kill drivers.
Sometimes an animal will jump into your path at the last second, making an accident impossible to avoid. However, in most cases you can reduce the possibility of a collision by following these guidelines from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:
- Slow Down! Driving more slowly increases reaction time and reduces the chance of a collision.
- Stay Alert while driving at dusk and dawn. This is when many of Colorado’s wildlife are the most active and are likely to be crossing roadways.
- Scan Ahead and watch for movement along roadsides. When driving at night, watch for shining eyes in headlights. Always look and be prepared for more than one animal.
- Obey traffic signs and watch for wildlife warning signs.
In the event that you’re unable to avoid a collision, remember to never touch the animal after the accident has occurred. Wild animals are unpredictable, and though it may seem to be dead or unconscious, there is always a possibility that you could startle it into injuring itself or you. It’s also important to get a police report from the incident and take pictures of the damage. When dealing with your insurance company it’s a good idea to have as much proof as possible.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, talking about your case with an experienced auto accident attorney in Colorado as quickly as possible after the accident is key to getting the legal help you deserve. The attorneys at Ramos Law, at multiple locations, are here to help and the earlier you consult with us, the better we can assist with finding evidence and shaping your case.