Drivers face many hazards on the road, most of which involve other drivers. However, there is another hazard that you need to be aware of every time you get behind the wheel – wildlife. Not only do accidents seriously hurt and kill countless animals, but accidents involving wildlife also pose serious risks to the driver and passengers of the vehicle.
The Federal Highway Administration published a study claiming that there are between 1 million and 2 million collisions each year involving animals including deer, elk, and moose. One potential risk of animals on the road is when a driver cannot stop in time to avoid an impact and instead swerves to miss the animal. This can sometimes lead the vehicle to head off the road or to collide with a vehicle coming in the other direction. Another serious risk posed by collisions with large animals, like elk, is that they can cause injury to the driver and passengers. Even if the driver does not receive an injury, the vehicle can still be damaged beyond repair if such a collision occurs at speed.
When damage or injury occurs, it is nearly always the drivers fault. While law firms like Holliday Karatinos Law Firm see many cases of victims of accidents claiming damages from another driver who was responsible for an accident, this is not the case with wildlife.
How to Reduce the Chances of a Run-in with Wildlife on the Road
Because of the risks to drivers and passengers, as well as the obvious distress that a collision can cause to the animals, we should all do our best to avoid accidents in the first place.
The Humane Society provides a number of tips to drive safer and avoid causing harm to the wildlife on our roads. You should be careful at all times when driving on the roads, but be especially careful to avoid colliding with wildlife when you are driving in rural areas.
One of the most important of the recommendations made is to stick to the speed limit. When an animal jumps out in front of your car, you have a much greater chance of being able to avoid a collision when you are traveling at a sensible speed.
Take special caution when you are driving alongside fields or woods because these roads are where the majority of collisions take place. Keep a particularly close watch on the edges of the roads. You may spot animals preparing to cross the road, and as a result you can slow down in time.
You should also take particular care when driving in the mornings and evenings because this is when animals are most likely to be active. Drive safely, eliminate distractions and you’ll minimize the chances of hitting a furry friend.
As a car owner, you dutifully schedule your tune-ups at a local mechanic, take your vehicle in for service when the tires are low and call for help when the battery is dead. While mechanics are great for fixing more serious issues with your vehicle, there are several DIY auto fixes and general maintenance that even beginners can successfully tackle. Check out the following three DIY auto fixes:
Check the Oil
Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. Without it, the engine will not be well-lubricated and can become damaged. As The Savvy Gal notes, checking your oil on a regular basis is one of the smartest and easiest things you can do for your car. All that you need is a clean rag and a level parking spot. Make sure your engine has cooled for at least one hour and then open the hood. The oil dipstick is often orange and has the word “oil” clearly marked. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean and put it back into the oil container. Remove the dipstick a second time and look for two marks near the bottom—the visible oil should be between the two of them. If it’s below the bottom mark, your car needs a good drink of motor oil. Check your owner’s manual for the type and amount of oil, and add in one quart at a time, up to about three-fourths of what the manual suggests.
Change a Tire
As anyone who has ever gotten a flat tire in the middle of nowhere knows quite well, it is not a fun experience. While you can call for help, you’ll get back on the road a lot quicker if you can change the flat yourself. The best way to prepare for this experience is in the comfort of your own driveway on a day when the weather is pleasant. Print out instructions from the DMV website on how to change the tire, and check out YouTube for a video or two that shows you exactly what you need to know. Then, roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth and practice jacking up your car, removing the tire’s lug nuts and taking off the old tire. Check the spare to be sure that it’s well-filled with air, and put it on your car. Try this a few times until you are comfortable with the process.
Change the Air Filter
It’s important to change the air filter in your vehicle’s engine regularly. Dirty filters cause poor engine performance and lower gas mileage. Your mechanic typically changes the filter during regularly scheduled tune-ups, but it’s certainly a task you can master. Check the owner’s manual for how often the air filter should be changed and which type is best for your car. Open the hood and look for the filter. Cars that are less than 20 years old usually have their filter in a black casing with clips on the side. Remove the clips and note how the filter is placed in the case, and remove the dirty filter. Put the new filter back in and replace the lid and the clips.
A Few Words About Tools
To do these car maintenance repairs, you need the proper tools. Dummies.com has a great list of suggested supplies, including a durable plastic tool box and a variety of tools including Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a socket wrench set and several other wrenches, including combination, torque and adjustable varieties. To shop for these tools, check out the Sears website. The company offers a huge selection of wrench sets that are ideal for DIY auto maintenance as well as all the other tools you need to keep your car happy and healthy.
By Social Monsters
The high costs of texting while driving, how it delays your reaction and can contribute to accidents.
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Although unexpected, it happens to the best of us. We end up in an accident in a parking lot. Here’s how to avoid this unpleasant situation and what to do if it does happen.
Always Be On The Lookout
Looking in front of you, to the sides, and behind you can prevent an accident. If you’re pulling out of a parking space, just look. Spend an extra 2 or 3 seconds scanning all around, making sure no one is there.
You can’t see little kids who happen to walk behind your vehicle. So, you should wait a few seconds to make sure there’s no one behind you before backing out. If you’re pulling in, give a quick scan to the area to make sure no one is trying to pull through a parking space into the one you’re going after.
Park Far Away From the Building
If you park far away from the building you want to go in, there’s less chance that you’ll hit someone on the way in or out. Don’t circle spots in front of the building like a hawk. Everyone else is doing that. You’ll only waste your own time, as well as others’. And, you’ll burn up fuel in the process.
Safety first. It’s incredible that some people don’t buckle up, but it happens – a lot. If you’re one of those people, please reconsider. It takes a second to do and it can save your life.
Use Your Turn Signal
That little stalk on the left side of your steering wheel has a purpose. It’s meant to signal others where you’re going. Use it. In a big city, it’s common for people to not use their signal, and this is how accidents happen. Actually, they shouldn’t be called accidents because this is something that’s totally preventable.
A quick flick, and you’ll instantly let people know where you intend to turn. And, signals can alert people that you want a particular parking space. It’s like “calling it” out on the road. It can dissuade others from stealing your spot but primarily it’s a great way to just prevent an accidental or absent-minded collision.
What To Do If It Happens
OK, so you’ve been in an accident. Here’s what you should do. First, make sure everyone is OK – including the other party. Now, contact the police. Then your insurance company. You’ll want to file a police report to make sure everything is in writing.
Your insurance company will want to know the details of the accident, including the other driver’s information. If you were involved in an accident with a truck, contact truck accident lawyers to get an idea of your legal responsibilities, liability potential and your rights.
Make sure you take pictures of everything as soon as it happens, too. Don’t let the other party move their vehicle before you gather up the evidence. Unfortunately, when the other person is at fault, it’s common for them to want to hide the evidence.
Take notes, and make sure you get at least their name, if not their contact and insurance information.
By Archie Lowe : Archie Lowe has been retired for 5 years after working most of his life as a Paramedic for the EMS. He blogs to raise awareness of accidents and how to prevent them to stay safe on the roads.