Drivers in Florida and across the U.S. should be aware that the end of daylight savings time brings with it a greater chance of wildlife-related accidents. Shorter daylight hours mean more encounters with wildlife, for whom the period between dusk and dawn is the most active. This change also coincides with the autumn, the peak mating season for deer and a time when bears are out looking for food before hibernation.
Wildlife crashes may be more common than some people think. For example, the Colorado Department of Transportation receives an average of 3,300 wildlife collision reports every year, with more in November than in any other month. Property damage costs, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, amount to about $3,400 for each driver.
Experts give several tips, useful year-round, that may help drivers prevent a wildlife-related incident. First of all, drivers should slow down whenever they enter wildlife-heavy regions. Such areas usually have warning signs posted throughout. Drivers should watch out for movement and shining eyes on the side of the road, and when an animal begins to cross, they should stop, honk the horn and flash the headlights. This keeps other animals away and alerts fellow drivers. Lastly, drivers should wear their seat belts at all times as these reduce the risk of serious injuries and death by 50 percent.
Even with these safety precautions, drivers may panic and inadvertently cause a car accident. Victims of such accidents may want to see a lawyer to determine if they have a viable personal injury claim. The first thing the lawyer will likely do is find any proof contributory negligence. For example, the victim may have neglected to wear a seat belt. While such negligence does not make a claim invalid, it may lower the possible settlement.