Warmer weather is likely to inspire a spike in car-animal crashes

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Some factors that contribute to motor vehicle crash risk are within the control of individual drivers. People decide how fast to drive and how much effort they invest in vehicle maintenance. Choosing not to keep vehicles in ideal condition or making choices that violate traffic statutes can significantly increase someone’s likelihood of getting into a crash.

There are other factors that are largely outside of the control of individual motorists. People driving passenger vehicles can’t control the actions of others. Factors like the weather or the condition of the road could affect someone’s likelihood of getting into a wreck. Another environmental factor largely outside of the control of motorists is local animal activity.

Pennsylvania has many types of wildlife that may wander onto roads. Domestic animals ranging from pets to livestock might also end up causing traffic issues. As temperatures increase and the seasons turn from the relatively inactive winter months to the bustling spring and summer months, the possibility of animal crashes in traffic is likely to increase.

Animals can be a risk all on their own

Large dogs, farm animals and deer are among the biggest safety concerns for Pennsylvania drivers. These bigger animals could potentially do major damage to a vehicle during a crash. Large animals may roll over the hood and go through the windshield, a scenario that could have tragic consequences for the people inside the vehicle. In 2022, there were 5,849 reported crashes involving deer in Pennsylvania. 1,265 ended up hurt because of those collisions, and nine people tragically lost their lives.

Animals can trigger dangerous traffic behaviors

Many of the most common animals that people encounter on the roads do not pose much risk to an enclosed motor vehicle. Squirrels, rabbits, possums and raccoons are among the animals that frequently end up struck by passenger vehicles.

Drivers usually do not have to worry about immediate injury risk if they collide with these smaller animals. However, their reaction to seeing the animal enter the street could put them in danger. People often slam on their brakes when they see an animal in the street ahead. They could end up struck from behind by another driver following too closely or not paying adequate attention to their surroundings.

Many other drivers might make the mistake of swerving to avoid animals. That is one of the most dangerous traffic choices possible. People may go off the road and strike power poles or trees. They might also swerve into oncoming traffic, resulting in a crash with another vehicle.

Increased animal activity during the warmer seasons may lead to both increased numbers of collisions between vehicles and animals and more crashes where someone’s reaction to an animal causes a wreck. Understanding seasonal crash concerns in Pennsylvania may help people stay safer in traffic.