During the pandemic, much talk centered around unruly drivers and their threat on the roads. However, for some places, the concern extends beyond reckless drivers to include encounters with wildlife. A recent study conducted by John Foy & Associates in Georgia delved into National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data to identify states with a significant number of fatal crashes involving animals.
Wildlife, Weather, and Winding Roads: The Recipe for Fatal Crashes
The top-ranking states in this rather unique list share common characteristics — vast landscapes, rural roadways, and challenging weather conditions. The study highlighted that these factors contribute to a higher likelihood of fatal accidents involving animals. States known for their substantial populations of large creatures like moose, bear, elk, and deer unsurprisingly dominated the rankings.
Montana Leads the Pack, While Some States Escape Animal-Related Fatalities
Topping the list is Montana, where a staggering 23% of fatal crashes involve animals. Wisconsin secured the second spot, although its overall number of fatal animal accidents was higher, the percentage stood at a lower 14% of the total. Curiously, states like Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia emerged with no recorded fatal crashes involving animals. The unique circumstances of these areas, be it their small population, crowdedness, or absence of large land-dwelling creatures, seemingly spared them from such incidents.
In contrast, California, despite having 22 fatal crashes involving animals, maintained a relatively low percentage at less than 0.5%. The sheer size of the state and extensive driving activities contribute to an overall total of over 4,000 fatal crashes.
It’s a reminder that while navigating the roads, especially in states prone to such encounters, attention to road signs and adopting a cautious approach, like slowing down, can significantly reduce the risk of colliding with wildlife. Sudden swerving and jerky steering movements are cautioned against to prevent loss of control when faced with an animal on the road.