It is fairly common to encounter an animal crossing the road while you're driving in Indiana or Kentucky but do you know the safest way to handle this situation when you're behind the wheel?

Animals You May Encounter

With a healthy mix of rural farmland and bustling metro areas across Indiana and Kentucky, you may encounter deer, coyotes, possums, raccoons, or several other animals both wild and domestic during your travels.

Safety First

When it comes to maintaining the safety and well-being of you and your passengers, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your travels are as safe as possible, especially when it comes to driving in areas where an animal encounter is more likely.

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What Are The Odds of Hitting a Deer in Indiana or Kentucky?

According to State Farm, the odds of hitting an animal in the United States is 1 in 127. In Indiana, those odds are 1 in 100, and in Kentucky, they are even greater at 1 in 91.

 

Deer collisions once again led as the top animal struck, followed by rodents*, dogs, raccoons, and coyotes.

The most dangerous months for animal collisions are November, October, and December, in that order.

If you’re driving on a paved, rural road without much traffic and the sky is not quite dark, you are in the most common scenario to hit wildlife. - State Farm

With the odds of hitting an animal higher than the national average, we have gathered some tips to help keep you safe while driving through Indiana and Kentucky.

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Scan the Road

Keeping an eye on the road, and shoulder, ahead of you allows you the opportunity to see any animals that may be nearby and gives you enough time to react if you spot one.

Where There's One

Some animals, like deer, often move in groups. This means that if you see one on or near the road, there are likely others close by.

High Beams On

To help you see ahead, you should drive with your high-beam headlights on when you can. Obviously, obey the rules of the road regarding your high beams and other motorists, but having your brights on may also help you spot some animal's eyes.

Dusk and Dawn

Extra caution should be taken during the twilight hours near dusk and dawn when animals, especially deer, tend to be on the move.

Know When to Slow

Be cautious in areas that have a heavy wildlife presence and be aware when it is hunting or mating season. These are peak times for animal activity.

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Do Not Veer

If you encounter an animal in the roadway, your natural inclination may be to jerk the steering wheel to avoid hitting it, but according to AAA, you should not "Veer for Deer." By swerving, you risk losing control of the vehicle, hitting another object like a tree or pole, or even oncoming traffic.

Swerving to miss wildlife wandering in the road is often a natural reaction. But it can also be dangerous and put you at risk for a serious crash. More than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year in the United States, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates. Those collisions result in about $1 billion in vehicle damage and cause 150 deaths each year. - AAA

What To Do Instead

Rather than veer, AAA says you should slow down if you see a deer on or near the road and if you cannot avoid hitting the deer, you should brake firmly while bringing it to a controlled stop. If you do hit a deer, move your car to the shoulder if you are able and call 911. Do not attempt to move the animal. If it is still alive, attempting to move it could result in serious injury.

[Source: AAA; State Farm]

Animals You Might Encounter in The Wild in Indiana

There is no shortage of stunning wildlife in Indiana. Here are six species native to the state that you might encounter the next time you head outside.

Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals

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