The Metropolitan area of Chicago and surrounding rural areas are filled with natural wildlife and free roaming feral cats and domestic dogs. As a result, animal-related car accidents happen all too frequently. In fact, the highest incidence of accidents in Illinois involving a collision with an animal occur from October through December, and May through June, when local deer are their most active.
Deer and most local wildlife are crepuscular in nature, meaning the highest level of their activity happens in the early mornings of dawn, and at twilight just before dusk. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT), there were 15,488 vehicle crashes involving deer in the state in 2012. That relates to approximately 6 percent of the total number of vehicle accidents in the state.
Avoiding an Animal-Related Accident
Because of the increased wildlife activity, most accidents in the Chicago area involving a collision with an animal happen between five and eight in the morning and five and ten in the evening. While not every animal-related collision can be avoided, there are specific steps drivers should take to minimize the potential of an accident. These steps include:
- Stay Aware – Remaining alert and aware of the local surroundings is essential to avoiding any animal-related car accident. It is important to pay attention to crossing signs indicating deer and other animals that are attracted to the area. At nighttime, while driving, scan along roadsides to look for the “eye shine” as animals’ eyes reflect from the glow of headlights.
- Use High Beams Appropriately – Drivers have the ability to see deer or other animals a few seconds earlier when using high beam headlights when appropriate during nighttime, to increase the potential of avoiding an accident.
- Use Caution around Natural Habitats – Deer are often attracted to water areas, field edges, fence rows and wood lots. Use extreme caution when driving through these areas to minimize the potential of a collision with deer or other animals.
- Slow Down – Driving slower makes it is easier to prepare to stop if deer and other wildlife are along the side of the road or around the curve. Typically, deer tend to travel together. Spotting one deer usually means others are close by.
- Observe Signs – Many municipalities have installed signs warning motorists of the presence of deer or other animals in the area. Obey these signs and pay attention.
- Prepare for the Unexpected – Deer standing in the road will often double back to the roadside, or fall down due to sharp hooves or when walking on surfaces that provide poor traction.
- Alert the Deer – When deer are in the road and other vehicles are not close behind, slow down, flash the headlights and honk the horn in short bursts. When deer are traveling along the roadside, use emergency flashers as a way to alert other motorists and prepare to stop safely if the animal moves toward the road.
- Never Tailgate – Tailgating is often involved in severe car accidents where a collision with deer and other animals occurred. It is essential to leave enough room between vehicles when driving, even under the best of roadway conditions and circumstances.
- Avoid Swerving – Many car accidents involving animals are often made worse when the vehicle swerves out of its way. Although the reaction to swerve is instinctual, swerving the vehicle can actually make the accident worse when turning into other traffic.
What to Do After A Car Accident With An Animal?
When involved in a car accident involving a collision with an animal, it is essential to get off the road to call the local law enforcement. It is essential to turn on the vehicle’s emergency flashing lights and place flares around the animal if it is on the road, as a way to warn other motorists. Never touch the wounded animal because it could become agitated and feel compelled to attack even if injured.
Don’t Talk To An Insurance Company About An Accident With A Deer or Other Animal Until You Speak To A Car Accident Attorney
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC provide legal representation to victims of animal-related car accidents and handle the claim with the best legal service throughout the entire process. Because of the complexity of a car accident case involving collisions with deer or other animals, it is essential to hire a legal team of top negotiators who are trained to fight for our client's rights against the insurance company.
It is not uncommon for auto insurance companies to delay or deny claims made by drivers or passengers injured in collisions with animals. Our law firm has successfully resolved these cases and knows what it takes to win. Call us before you speak to an insurance company representative so you are prepared and aware of the applicable laws for these unique type of motor vehicle cases. Call us at (888) 424-5757 or fill out our online contact form, for a free consultation and evaluation of your claim.