The likelihood of crashing into an animal more than doubles during October, November and December, when collisions with dogs, cats, deer and other animals significantly increase. Vermonters know that bucks are in rut and are far more active in the fall. While the moose population has diminished in recent years, there is the occasional collision with a moose, particularly in the Northeast Kingdom. Here are some animal collision safety tips:
●Use extra caution and slow down at night and in known animal crossing zones. For example, the Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor crosses VT Route 100 near the Waterbury-Stowe town line. Vermont biologists and conservationists are working to ensure that it stays open and safe for wildlife moving through the Green Mountains. The Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor is the only largely forested pathway remaining for wildlife to move between the larger habitat blocks found in the Worcester Range to the east and the Green Mountain spine to the west. The Vermont Department of Transportation, VTrans, has done a good job of posting signage so that Vermont drivers as well as out-of-staters are aware of wildlife corridors.
●Slow down, particularly at night. In some western states, there are reduced speed limits at night because you simply can’t see as far. You want to travel at a speed that will allow you to stop in time if an animal comes into the beam cast by your headlights. Always maintain a constant lookout for animals.
●Dusk and dawn are particularly high-risk times.
●Of course it’s true all the time, but always make sure you wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts save an estimated 115,000 lives every year.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Crash With an Animal
●If possible, move your vehicle to a safe place, pull to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
●Call the police.
●So long as it can be done safely, take photographs of the road, your surroundings and damage.
●Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive.
●Contact your insurance company and file your insurance claim quickly. Comprehensive insurance covers most animal related crashes.