Each year across Washington State, hundreds of drivers hit wildlife on interstates, highways, and roads -- from moose, deer, and elk, to smaller animals such as skunks and raccoons. Washington is working to reduce the number of these accidents, but just learning about vehicle-wildlife collision safety tips can help prevent these accidents from taking place.

Wildlife And Deer Collision Accidents: Do You Know What To Do When There Is An Animal On The Road?

The Washington State Department of Transportation has been working tirelessly this year to reduce the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions across the state. In an attempt to prevent accidents and save lives, WSDOT has planned several wildlife overpasses on I-90, called the Interstate 90 Snoqualmie East Project. In addition, the state agency is also fitting elk with radio transmitters that activate warning beacons on the highway.

However, one of the best ways of preventing car accidents due to deer, elk, moose, and other wildlife continues to be educating yourself about how these critter crashes happen and how they can be prevented.

•    Don’t just look at the road. Many drivers focus only on the road when behind the wheel, especially when they are driving on the interstate. To avoid hitting deer, be sure to scan the shoulder for animals and keep alert.
•    Be wary at dawn and dusk. Most animals are most active in the early morning and when the sun is setting. Be extra cautious during this time.
•    Look for signs. Deer crossing and animal crossing signs have been placed there with good reason. Also look for other signs that animals may be in the area; for example, if you are traveling past farms and ranches, or if you are traveling through rural areas or mountain passes.
•    If you see one, there may be more. Deer and elk often travel in groups, so if you see one, there are often others. Slow down and be careful after you spot your first animal.
•    Note the time of year. Deer accidents peak in the fall and spring, so be more cautious in October, November, May, and June.
•    If an animal runs into the road in front of you, don’t swerve away from it. Instead, try to brake as quickly as possible. Swerving can lead to multiple-car accidents, rollovers, and serious injury.