As we enter springtime, officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) are reminding drivers that they will be more likely to encounter larger animals on our local roadways. In order to avoid collisions, officials say, drivers should stay alert.
Avoid Distractions To Prevent Wildlife Accidents
WSDOT explained that when it comes to avoiding wildlife collisions, drivers must keep in mind that while driving in the early morning hours or at dusk, they will be more likely to see more animals.
Large animals such as deer and elk often travel in groups, which can increase the risk of accidents. By staying focused and alert, drivers will be able to spot wildlife ahead of time, giving them plenty of time to slow down to avoid collisions.
Respect The Speed Limit
When driving in wood-lined areas, a Washington State Patrol (WSP) Trooper told reporters, drivers must be especially mindful of the speed limit. When driving in a three-lane section, he added, drivers should stay in the middle lane. That will give them extra time to slow down if they spot wildlife.
WSDOT officials also recommended caution when attempting to avoid collisions.
Once a driver spots one or more animals, they tell reporters, he or she should avoid swerving. Instead, hit the brake pedal gradually. Swerving abruptly can put you at risk of crashing into other cars, causing greater damage and increasing the risk of personal injury.
In any case, if you still hit an animal, you should pull over to a safe place and call 911.
WSDOT-Built Crossings For Wildlife Could Help Prevent Accidents
In order to help prevent accidents involving wildlife, WSDOT officials built one over-crossing and several under-crossings for animals along I-90 several years ago. As a result, officials saw a significant decrease in the number of animal collisions. Unfortunately, accidents still happen every now and then, and drivers must do their part to help keep roads safe.
For more information, click here.