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​ Your Car And The Critters Around You:

​  Your Car And The Critters Around You:

Many people with good hearts have accidentally hit an animal and immediately gone out to help it, only to realize that if they do so, they could be seriously injured or even killed by oncoming traffic.

Although you may feel responsible for an animal that you’ve hit, you need to realize that your life is worth far more. The best thing to solve this entire situation is to just avoid hitting the animal in the first place. Easier said than done, right?

The first step in this dilemma is to avoid hitting an animal. When driving at dusk or dawn, pay close attention to the sides of the roads. If there is thick foliage and trees, smaller animals like possums and raccoons will be able to hide easily. Larger animals, like deer and elk, will be easier to spot but harder to avoid. If you see an animal, tap on your breaks to let the car behind you know that you are slowing. For most animals, do not swerve. That puts you into oncoming traffic and into the risk of your own life. Hitting an animal and paying a mechanic is a lot easier than being hit and paying a coroner.

If you hit an animal, do not immediately try to help. Sit in the car for a solid minute and think about where you are, the dangers you would encounter if you got out of your car, and what the animal might do to you if you tried to help it. In most cases, the animal will shake it off and walk away or be too dead to help anyways. If the animal is still alive, if you are not on a hill or a freeway, if it is not dark out, if your panic lights are on, get out on the passenger’s side door. If you anticipate something like this happening, carry an old blanket and thick gloves in your car with you. If the animal is injured, put your gloves on and put the blanket over it, being careful to cover its face and claws. Any injured animal tends to react poorly to anyone it may see as a threat; which would be most everyone at that point. Gently carry or drag the animal off the road. If the blanket is none too precious to you, leave the animal wrapped in it. Get back in your car through the passenger’s side, just to insure that you don’t get hit by oncoming traffic.

The one exception to the ‘don’t swerve’ rule is moose. They can get to be sixteen hundred pounds, hitting one of them would be an actual tragedy.

Pay close attention to animal crossing signs, and be mindful of the speed limit. If you are going at a reasonable speed, it will be much easier to react appropriately.