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Wildlife: A serious autumn hazard for drivers

Colorful leaves and crisp air signal the start of autumn. This is also a time when wildlife becomes more active, leading to an increased risk of animal-related accidents on the road. During this season, creatures move for various reasons, including migration and foraging for food. The surge in animal activity increases the likelihood of encounters with vehicles.

Autumn’s shorter days mean drivers often find themselves on the road at dawn or dusk when animals are most active. Dim light and low sun angles can make it even more challenging to spot wildlife before it’s too late. Increased animal movement and difficult driving conditions can lead to unfortunate accidents.

Safety measures to consider

While humans can’t control wildlife, they can take steps to mitigate the risks. Knowing their surroundings and adjusting their speed in known animal crossing areas can make a significant difference. High-beam headlights can improve visibility. Drivers should remember to lower them when they encounter oncoming traffic. 

How technology helps

Advancements in vehicle technology have introduced features that can aid in avoiding wildlife-related crashes. Systems like forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking can alert the driver of an impending obstacle. Newer vehicles are also increasingly equipped with thermal imaging cameras that can detect heat-emitting objects, like animals, even in complete darkness. 

While technology is not a substitute for alert driving, it can be a helpful aid in minimizing accidents during the high-risk autumn months. Still, nothing is foolproof. In some cases, drivers may swerve to avoid wildlife, which can lead to them crashing into other vehicles, and that can lead to serious injuries that could otherwise be avoided. 

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