To Swerve or Not to Swerve: That is the Question

The Answer: Don't Swerve


To swerve or not to swerve a deer 

Loss-of-control crashes are sometimes the result of trying to avoid animals or wildlife that are on the roadway. Swerving to miss an animal is not the way to go. Our Great West Casualty Company team has come up with these essential driving techniques.

By applying some of them, the loss-of-control crash caused by avoiding wildlife on the roadway, can be avoided:

Maintain proper following distance

If the vehicle ahead brakes suddenly to avoid an animal or swerves and loses control, you must have enough space to perceive the hazard, react properly, and brake. Maintaining a minimum of a six-second interval between you and the vehicle ahead can give you the time and space you need to avoid a crash.

Observe proper speed for conditions

Many of these types of crashes happen in the dark. As a general rule, a tractor-trailer's clean, properly adjusted, working low-beam headlights will illuminate about 250 feet in front of the vehicle. High beams will illuminate approximately 350-500 feet. You must be able to take controlled action within that distance. Do not over drive your headlights. 

Avoid distractions/be attentive to the road ahead

Nocturnal animals have eyes that will reflect the light from your headlights making them more recognizable, if your are looking for them. Keep your eyes on the road, scanning from shoulder-to-shoulder, watching for those glowing eyes. 

React properly to hazards/maintain one lane

To swerve or not to swerve: that is the question. The answer: when an animals runs out in front of your vehicle, your first reaction may be to swerve to avoid it. Don't! Swerving can cause you to lose control, drive off the road into the ditch, or across oncoming lanes. The proper reaction is to slow down, grip the steering wheel firmly, and steer slightly to control the impact while maintaining your lane. Do not swerve to miss an animal.

By applying some of these techniques, loss-of-control crashes due to wildlife on the roadway can be avoided and the resulting damage minimized. Don't jeopardize your life, or the lives of others, by trying to save a squirrel, a raccoon, a deer, a Sasquatch, a wild turkey, etc. 


We never want any driver to get into a collision by trying to avoid an animal or wildlife. If it does happen though, we want to make sure that you are in the best hands possible when it comes to your semi-truck insurance. At Great West, we focus on service and want to make sure that we deliver when you need us to. Check out our full list of truck insurance products and services here

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