November is the month we tend to associate with turkeys, hot chocolate, and cornucopias. In the midst of all the fall weather fun and holiday joy, however, we need to start associating the month of November with something a bit more serious – the increased number of wildlife that appears on or near our roadways.
Studies have shown that November is the month that has the highest number of reported wildlife-related collisions. In fact, it is well-known that deer activity, for example, increases quite drastically between late October through November, which also increases the potential of seeing deer very close to or on our roads. With the dwindling hours of daylight we experience at this time of the year (along with that pesky time change), our visibility can be compromised more easily, making it more challenging to see deer and other wildlife at twilight, night, and in winter weather conditions.
Increase your awareness and sharpen your driving skills with these 6 tips below!
Be Attentive Always – The road should command your full attention as it is, but if you had to give driving your absolute and undivided attention, this month would be the right time. This goes double for sunset and sunrise, which is when many wildlife creatures are the most active. Put away your smart phone (it can wait!), stop fiddling with the music, and tell your friend on your Bluetooth that you’ll call later.
Heed the Signs – If you’re driving in areas that have special signs that indicate that animals could be present, make sure you heed those warnings! Slow down a bit, and use extra caution. Remember, those signs were posted for a reason!
Scan the Sides – It’s not enough to just look at the road itself when driving; you need to scan the sides of the road as well. Look for any sort of reflective features in the grass – your headlights will typically illuminate any creature’s eyes that could be standing in the shadows. Also, be extra cautious in areas that have a great deal of vegetation next to the road. Wildlife might not be visible in these locations.
Look for Others – If you happen to see an animal on or near the road, please keep in mind that there could be others nearby as well. Deer, for example, like to travel in groups, so if you see one, you will more than likely see at least one more. Slow down and keep your eyes peeled!
Slow Down – We’ve mentioned decreasing your speed throughout several of these tips, but we felt that this deserved its own section. Reduce your speed, especially at night and definitely if you see an animal near or on the roadway. Additionally, do your best to stay in your lane. Several serious accidents are a result of the driver swerving to avoid wildlife or driving at high speeds and losing control of their vehicle.
Wear Your Seat Belt – Not only is this a big rule of the road, but it can also save your life. Always put on your seat belt. Remember, even the slightest collision could result in serious injuries.
Of course, even with all of these safety precautions, it’s always a smart idea to be covered in case something happens anyway. Make sure that your auto insurance is up to snuff – call the experts at Madison Mutual Insurance Company at 1-800-766-MMIC or by learning more about our policies online at www.madisonmutual.com!