Wildlife vehicle collisions are a serious matter across the country, affecting both wildlife populations and public safety. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program estimates there are between 725,000 and 1.5 million wildlife vehicle collisions annually in the United States, resulting in more than $1 billion in property damage. According to this highway research program, 200 human fatalities and 29,000 injuries occur every year in the United States as a result of these accidents.

Here are a few tips to help drivers avoid hitting wildlife:

Many animals are more active during dusk and dawn, when visibility is reduced, so stay alert.

Follow speed limits.

Pay close attention to wildlife crossing signs.

Slow down and be alert if you see an animal cross the road, as there are probably others nearby. This is especially true with deer.

Have passengers assist by scanning sides of roadways.

If an animal is spotted on the side of the road, slow down, turn on your flashers to warn other drivers, and pass with caution, as animals may be startled and react erratically by running onto the road.

Try your best not to swerve if an animal is in the road. Instead, apply your brakes firmly and sound your horn in short bursts. If you must change your path, only do so when you can maintain control, as many accidents are caused not by actual collisions with wildlife but rather by attempts to avoid them.

--- Federal Highway Administration