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7 Tips to Prevent Wildlife Collisions

A car and a deer
Deer mating season is over in Michigan, but that does not mean that drivers can relax. Unfortunately, wildlife collisions are a threat any time of the year, and many accidents happen during the summer months when people spend more time in rural areas to take in the gorgeous views.
Whether you've lived around wildlife all your life or are hoping to catch your first view of a live deer in the wild, use these tips to prevent a dangerous collision with animals on the road.
1. Watch for Warning Signs
You should always drive in rural areas with the assumption that wild animals could suddenly try to cross the road. However, you need to be especially wary if you see deer or other wild animal crossing signs. These bright yellow signs are placed where animals are known to cross frequently.
2. Be Alert During Prime Feeding Time
The majority of animals tend to be the most active in the hours just around dusk and dawn. During these hours, deer, elk, and moose are actively feeding as they prepare to sleep or wake up for the day. Unfortunately, this is also the time of day when low natural light levels may make wild animals harder to detect. If you're driving during these feeding times, you need to be extra vigilant.
3. Scan the Road as You Drive
During the spring and summer months, deer tend to approach roads to get to green grass before they retreat back to their shaded resting spots. You are also more likely to see animals if you are driving alongside a river or stream that they use for water. Ideally, you should scan the road from side to side to look for animals as you drive.
In the evening hours, you can often glimpse a flash on the side of the road from your headlights illuminating the animal's eyes. If you spot this flash, immediately slow down and proceed with even more caution.
4. Expect More When You See One
Most wild animals travel in groups, especially during the dusk and dawn hours when predators are also wandering about. Never assume that the threat is over just because you passed a single deer or moose. Typically, other animals are nearby that are just as likely to run out into the road.
5. Keep Your Vehicle Maintained
Proper vehicle maintenance goes a long way toward the prevention of car collisions with animals. Make sure that you have working headlights that can help you see wild animals in the dark. If you plan to travel in low populated areas, then you should also make sure that the high beams work.
In addition to your headlights, your car should be outfitted with quality tires that are properly inflated and brakes that are in good condition so that you can stop quickly if an animal does get in your path.
6. Limit Distractions in Your Vehicle
The best way to avoid a collision of any type is to limit distractions when you are driving. Avoid eating while you drive, and place your cell phone where you won't be tempted to use it. You should also preview your route before driving in unfamiliar areas so that you can keep your eyes on the road and not the GPS.
7. Know How to Handle a Potential Collision
There is always the possibility of catching an animal in your path, despite your best efforts. If this happens, do not slam on the brakes or try to swerve, since you could accidentally turn your car in the path of the animal's escape. Instead, steer your car straight ahead and apply gentle pressure to the brakes.
If you do hit the animal, then call 9-1-1 to report the accident and seek help for any injuries. Keep in mind that you should never drive a car that is possibly compromised from a collision. Call for a tow if the vehicle has serious damage.
At Rusko Service Center, we'd rather you be safe on the road than need to call for a tow, but we are here 24-hours a day just in case you need us. Keep our contact information handy, and get out there to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

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