I recently read the tragic news story about a young woman who died in a Decatur traffic accident.  The driver of the car swerved in order to avoid a dog in the road and ended up hitting another car.  Every year, hundreds of people are killed when they swerve to avoid an animal and, instead, end up causing a more serious crash.
 
No one wants to hurt a dog. If a dog is in the road, swerving to protect the dog is a natural reaction.  However, this may not be the best tactic to protect a driver and passengers.  So, what should you do if you are driving and there is a dog in the road?
 
Would you believe most of the research about car animal crashes comes from Australia? In Australia, instead of dog and deer crashes, drivers must worry about wallaby and kangaroo.  Researchers at the University of New South Wales conducted a study of injuries and deaths caused by road accidents involving animals.   The scientists looked at over 5,000 road accidents involving animals that occurred between 1996 and 2005.  Seventeen thousand people were injured in those crashes, and 22 people were killed. The researchers found that the most deadly accidents occurred when people swerved to avoid the animal.
 
Instead of swerving, the researchers suggest reducing your speed. If you see an animal on the road, try and keep the vehicle straight and apply your brakes.  You can honk your horn or blink your lights. Hopefully, the animal will move out of the way.  If not, it is safer to hit that animal than try to swerve to miss it. If you swerve, the likelihood that the people will suffer serious injuries goes up.
 
What should you do if you hit a dog?  If you hit a dog, you must report the accident. If your car sustained damage, get a copy of the accident report and contact your insurance company.  If anyone is injured in an Atlanta car accident, contact The Law Offices of Shane Smith.  In some cases, the dog owner may be liable for your injuries or property damage. Call 770-HURT-999 for more information.
 
To learn more about property damage claims, request our free guide, “Property Damage Guide for Georgia.”

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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