Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

Southern California Personal Injury & Business Lawyers

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Wildlife collisions increase with end of daylight saving time

Most wild animals are active when it's dark, so they especially become a danger to drivers when the days get shorter. The autumn season also complicates matters as bears will be prowling around for food before hibernation, and deer will be mating. Drivers in California should know that there are precautions they can take to avoid accidents with wildlife.

First of all, drivers should be on the lookout for signs warning them of wildlife; these are posted by transportation authorities so that drivers can increase awareness and decrease their speed in such areas. Wildlife can often be spotted through their movements and their shining eyes. If a wild animal steps onto the road, drivers should slow, honk their horn, and flash the headlights. This will dissuade other animals from crossing and alert any other drivers.

Lastly, drivers should wear their seat belts at all times. Seat belts, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, reduce the risk of serious injuries and death by half.

Wildlife collisions are more common than some people think. In Colorado, for example, an average of 3,300 wildlife collision reports are filed every year with the Department of Transportation. The DOT has stated that November is always the peak month for accidents. The vehicle damage sustained in such incidents averages over $3,400.

Human negligence can also lead to an accident, even one involving other drivers. If stopping for wildlife leads to a rear-end collision, the other driver may be held responsible for vehicle damage and any medical expenses. A lawyer may be able to assess the accident claim and factor in any contributory negligence; for instance, if the victim was not wearing a seat belt, this might lower the settlement he or she is entitled to.

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