squirrel in the road looks scared

When encountering an obstacle in the road, drivers only have a split second to react.

In these scenarios, our instincts take over. And whether it’s an animal or a piece of debris, you’ll likely find yourself swerving to avoid it.

But is swerving to avoid obstacles really the safest option? The answer may surprise you.

On the surface, swerving to avoid harm to your vehicle – or that animal in the roadway – seems to makes good sense. However, it can sometimes be safer to take some impact. That’s because swerving out of your lane can lead you into the path of more dangerous obstacles on the side of the road… or even into oncoming traffic.

According to 2016 data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 20 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths came as a result of “fixed-object crashes” – that’s when a car runs into something big and stationary like a tree, guardrail or utility pole. Meanwhile, the number of serious accidents caused by hitting road debris and animals is much smaller.

Of course, it can be upsetting to hit an animal with your car – no matter how small. The best way to avoid an accident caused by road debris or animals is to use defensive driving techniques. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay alert. Be aware of your immediate surroundings. If you’re in the suburbs, you’re more likely to encounter family pets or small animals. On the highway, watch for blown tire treads and deer.
  • Pay attention. You’re not daydreaming, are you? Whenever you drive, always keep your eyes and attention focused on the road ahead.
  • Keep a safe distance. Resist the urge to tailgate or drive too close to vehicles in front of you. That way, you’ll have plenty of room to stop if they slam on their brakes.

Are you covered for the unexpected things along the road ahead? To get an insurance experience that’s personal, fair and affordable, contact us at Wagner Insurance.