A deer runs out onto the road. You notice a dog in the street at the last second and have to brake hard. These types of instances can be challenging to manage.
Your auto insurance policy may cover some or all of the damage you experience if you can't avoid a crash with an animal. Yet, the amount of that damage depends on your actions.
What you do in those split seconds matters. What steps can you take to avoid these types of car insurance claims?
The most important step you can take is to be ready to act. If you are driving during the early morning hours or late-night hours, expect animals to be around. You will find them lurking along the edges of streets throughout the night. In particular, you can expect encounters with deer during the summer and fall months. By simply expecting to come across these animals, you may be able to avoid an accident.
Keep Your Lights On
During nighttime hours, keep your car's lights on. This is not only good practice, but also the law. Use your bright headlights on particularly dark stretches of road, such as wooded areas. These are the areas most likely to have animals present. Having more light allows you to spot the animals early on. Most animals will also run from such light. This helps minimize your risks of causing an accident.
Do Not Panic
Seeing a dog in the road in front of your car is terrifying. Your ability to handle the situation depends on your ability to remain focused. Being prepared will help. The goal here is to ensure you keep a level head and keep your eyes open when the event is occurring.
Know Not To Swerve
It can be a mistake to swerve when there is an animal on the road. Your instincts will tell you to do so. However, this can cause the most likely damage to your car. If you swerve, you may strike oncoming traffic. This could have coverage under your auto insurance, but you are putting another person's life on the line. If you swerve, aim for the edge of the road instead of crossing the center lane. Still, you run the risk of going off the side of the road. Often, a better option is to try to slow down but to remain straight.
Animals in the road are not uncommon. Sometimes, you may be unable to avoid hitting them. Your car insurance policy is there to help you because of this. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, you may have coverage for any vehicle damage you might sustain.