When an animal runs into the road, whether it’s the neighbor’s cat or a whitetail deer, people often react instinctively. They will try to swerve to avoid the collision. They don’t want to damage their car, they don’t want to injure the animal, and their gut tells them that they need to move the vehicle out of the way. They may feel that they do not have time to push the brakes and slow down enough to avoid the collision.
However, this is one of those situations where your instincts are probably wrong. In the vast majority of cases, you do not want to swerve when an animal enters the street. You may be able to do so if you know there are no other vehicles around and/or if you are traveling very slowly, but it is generally better to avoid it. Instead, you should just brake to reduce as much speed as you can and brace for the impact.
Why is swerving the wrong idea?
It’s understandable that you would want to avoid a collision with an animal, but swerving usually doesn’t help. It just makes things worse.
For instance, if you swerve to the right, you could drive your car into the ditch. You may strike a stationary object, like a tree or a vehicle parked on the side of the road. That type of collision is much more likely to lead to serious injuries.
It’s even worse if you swerve to the left. Doing this on the majority of roads in America means you would be driving directly into oncoming traffic. You never want to trade a collision with an animal for one with another motor vehicle. That would put other people’s lives in danger, as well as your own.
Have you been injured?
Unfortunately, drivers are still going to react instinctively, even when it’s wrong. If one of them causes an accident that injures you, you may be able to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.