Multiple Vehicles and Injuries in Crash as a Result of a Pig on the RoadDecember 11, 2012 | Category: Automobile Accidents | Share
The crash involving three vehicles on Saturday, December 1, 2012, in Collier County Florida was reported to be the result of a pig on the road and was the subject of a Spivey Law Firm blog discussing the Florida Highway Safety (FHP) report regarding the two youngest children not restrained. But this crash needs more coverage because there is a high rate of wildlife-related vehicle crashes each year. Based on data from government sources and insurance claim reports, the Watch Out for Wildlife Organization estimates the number of animal-on-the- roadway related crashes is up to 1.5 million annually.
State Road 29 in Collier County is an unlit rural road near Immokalee Airport and Ave Maria University. It is a road going through some areas of dense vegetation which are the roaming grounds of some of the estimated 500,000 wild pigs in Florida (National Geographic Magazine). Wild pigs can weigh more than 300 pounds, tend to be aggressive, and are often crossing area roads.
Although the FHP still has this accident under investigation, some area residents familiar with State Road 29 and previously encountering animals suggest that "driver instinct" many times causes drivers to swerve into on-coming traffic to avoid hitting animals.
Whatever the final report shows, Attorney Spivey suggests, "Drivers on all roads in this area need to become animal aware. Animals on, and crossing roads can be present. It just happened on Sanibel and in a neighborhood in Estero. Also, Florida black bear sightings are at an all-time high."
I-75, where it crosses Florida from Naples to Weston on the other coast, is called Alligator Alley. This interstate highway has fences along both sides to protect motorists from hitting animals but US-41 from Naples to Miami and most other roads do not have such protection.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission animals which may be seen on roads in Southwest Florida include alligators, crocodiles, armadillos, panthers, deer, black bears, pythons, wild pigs, turtles, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, feral cats, farm animals, and domesticated pets.
"Swerving can be worse than hitting an animal on road", according to USA Today - Your Life January 2012. Nobody wants to intentionally hit an animal but swerving should not be a solution to the problem. Swerving could potentially create bigger problems as drivers tend to overcorrect or run off the road.
The Humane Society of the United States and defensive driving experts offer these tips for driving in areas where animals may be on the road.
- Use your high-beams whenever possible. They will give you more time to spot and react to animals on the road.
- Slow down.
- Blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the animal away.
- Be vigilant in early morning and evening hours, the most active time for some animals.
- Brake firmly when you notice an animal in or near your path.
- Do not swerve. It can confuse the animal as to where to run. It can also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or be hit by another car.
- Be alert and drive with caution when you are moving through zones of high vegetation which comes right up to the road.
- Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in vehicle animal crashes were not wearing their seat belts.
- Some animals travel in groups so seeing one should put one on high alert for more.
Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by less than 2 percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 1,500 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239. 337.7483 or toll-free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County at 239.793.7748.