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To Swerve or Not to Swerve

Swerving When Driving Important Tips in the US banner

There are two types of driving – aggressive driving anddefensive driving. The latter part is what most people wanted to learn becauseit takes consideration not only of themselves, but their surrounding as well.Being a defensive driver requires more skills and that includes swerving. Itusually takes a lot of experience behind the wheel to master the concept ofswerving. Some even attend defensive driving classes just to learn the basics.If you are still learning how to become a defensive driver, then start out byknowing when and how to swerve. Read VroomVroomVroom's tips below and you mayeventually avoid road accidents and even save lives.

5 Important Tips to Practice

When faced with potholes

driving beside pothole

  • Don't swerve to avoid potholes. You may think it's the best option, but swerving can cause your front wheel and tire on the car to hit the edge of the pothole causing more damage than hitting it straight on.
  • Don't brake just because you see a pothole. Heavy braking compresses the front suspension of the car and will have a tendency to force the tire and wheel down into the pothole, instead of gliding over.
  • In case you hit a pothole, you can actually save your fellow drivers the headache and costs of repairs by reporting it. Whether you encounter it on a city street or county road, make sure to inform your city public works department or county road commission.​
  • Always pay attention to tire pressure. Keep the tire pressure at level recommended by manufacturer, which will protect against tire damage on impact.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • If road signs indicate the presence of animals, rock slides or flooding, reduce speed accordingly. Take note that animals are more common in areas where creeks, rivers or streams run parallel to or intersect a road like in Colorado
  • In an article published by 9news​, "more people are getting into crashes with wildlife in Colorado." In 2016, more than 4,600 deer were killed on Colorado highways alone, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • DMV.org​ also compiled a few startling statistics involving animal-car collisions. Please note of these statistics. "1 out of every 17 car collisions involves wandering wildlife. 89% of all wildlife collisions happen on roads with 2 lanes while 84% take place in good weather on dry roads. In the U.S. alone, at least 200 motorists die each year from car-wildlife collisions.​
  • To avoid adding to these statistics, watch for activity on the shoulder or the reflection of your headlights in the animal's eyes. Note, however, that some larger animals, such as moose, may stand above the range of your headlights.
  • Watch also for the flickering headlights or tail lights of other cars, which may indicate unexpected breaking or warning signals.
  • If road reflectors disappear and reappear, animals may be crossing.

wild moose crossing the road

Animals on the road

  • Reacting to animals on the road is very situational.  If you encounter a small to medium sized animal, it is often best to apply the breaks but maintain your course. 
  • Although the animal may not survive the impact, you will fair significantly better. Swerving may put you in the direct path of oncoming cars or other more substantial inanimate objects.
  • This should not be considered an absolute rule.  If a driver is able to determine that they can safely swerve around the animal without endangering themselves or other motorists, then they should follow their instincts. Moose and similarly sized animals are the exception to the aforementioned rule.  Impact with a moose, which can weigh up to 1200 lbs, increases the chance for injury or death to driver/passengers dramatically.  When presented with this situation, it is best to swerve around the animal.
  • The Wildlife Collision Prevention Program in Canada notes: "If a crash with a moose is inevitable, crouch as low as possible in your seat, or under the dash, as a moose's body usually ends up crushing the roof of a car completely flat."

driving on a puddle

Dealing with puddles and fallen trees

  • The dangers of swerving apply in all driving situations, not just when confronted with an animal.
  • Always try to break short of the obstruction.
  • Puddles may cause a car to hydroplane, but swerving may cause an immediate crash.
  • Maintain low speeds when the streets are wet and never swerve into oncoming traffic.

 If you see live electrical wires

  • Keep in mind that electrical wires are extremely dangerous and should be avoided. In case you see a live power line, contact the authorities and report it immediately.
  • Make sure to stay away from downed power lines. A car's tires should insulate the car from an electrical current, but any number of variables could compromise the safety of car and passengers.

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