Pennsylvania Reader Sounds Off About Drivers Who Swerve to Avoid Animals

by Phillip G.
(Pennsylvania)

I read an article on your website about how your passengers can make personal injury claims against you if you swerve to avoid an animal and strike a tree instead. If the deer (or whatever) that jumped right out in front of you, the accident is not usually your fault. This reminded me of a lesson in a drivers’ education class that I had in high school years ago, back when the state would foot the bill for teaching young drivers. That lesson was that the people in a vehicle are more valuable than the animal that jumps out in front of you.


I’ve read articles about terrible accidents that happened because the driver swerved to avoid a duck or a groundhog in the roadway, or something as small as a squirrel. Are you kidding me? Even with PETA and all that, when did a human being’s safety take back seat (no pun intended) to a rodent’s? Of course, few of us want to kill an animal in the roadway, but why would you swerve into other vehicles or oncoming traffic and risk killing yourself or your passengers instead? What if that is your wife and kids in the car with you; will you still jerk the wheel?

Plus, I’ve seen those little animals dart away at the last minute so many times; sure you see a lot of road-kill, but the majority of animals crossing the road do not get hit. Even if you do hit a deer, the likelihood that it will be a catastrophic, life-ending collision is very low. My opinion is that if you do choose to swerve into the tree rather than just keep going, then you deserve for your passengers to sue you when they’re hit: you chose that animal’s welfare over theirs.

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