Animal encounters can brighten up even the dreariest drive – provided the animals are at the side of the road, not in it.
While the fall is a great time to see roadside wildlife, some beasts will inevitably cross the roads as they travel to mate or find food before winter comes.
Do animals cross anywhere?
They can do, but they tend to favor certain routes. A recent study found six of North Carolina’s most used animal crossing points are in the Asheville area. They include:
- Interstate 40 through the Pigeon River Gorge
- S. 19 at the Blue Ridge Parkway
- I-40 east of Canton
So what can you do to avoid hitting an animal?
Firstly, you need to slow down in areas where animals are likely. It increases the chance you can stop in time if you do see one in front of you.
Secondly, you need to use your lights. Animals such as deer are most active around dusk and dawn when visibility is lower. Your headlamps make it easier for you to see them and increase the chance they see you and move out of the way.
Thirdly you need to realize that where there’s one, there’s usually more. So if you see a stag by the side of the road, don’t be surprised if a group of hinds come running across shortly after.
Avoiding hitting an animal is only part of the problem
Not all drivers will take adequate precautions. If they come up fast on a deer in their lane, they might swerve into yours to try and avoid it, causing a head-on collision with you. If that happens, you can’t blame the deer, but with legal help, you can seek to hold the driver responsible.