As the seasons change, motorists face a number of risks as they head out for a weekend drive in Northern Nevada this fall. Deer, debris, and other drivers who are eager to get a peek at the scenery can make driving dangerous in the area.
Deer and Other Wildlife
Animals throughout the area are busy preparing for winter. Whether they are gathering food or migrating towards more temperate climates, this means many will be crossing highways and roads on their trek. Nationwide, there are more than 1.5 million collisions involving deer every year and this number climbs as the fall season progresses. The risk is greatest at dawn and dusk when deer are more active and likely to come into contact with motorists. In Nevada, motorists have a 1 in 966 chance of striking a deer.
Other large animals that motorists may encounter in the Reno area include wild horses, black bears, coyotes, antelope, and mountain lions. Weather conditions, time of day, and traffic can make it difficult to spot these animals and can increase the potential for accidents.
Fall weather conditions can change rapidly. It can be bright and sunny when drivers set out on a trip, and snowy and icy by the time they reach their destination. Motorists should prepare themselves and their vehicles to encounter fog, snow, slush, and ice on every journey. This includes ensuring that headlights and taillights function properly, tires are properly inflated, brakes are in good condition, and that antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid reservoirs are topped off.
Similarly, the changing weather also increases the risk of striking branches and limbs that may fall into the roadway. These car accident risks are significant when high winds are present, and between dusk and dawn when this debris is more difficult to see.
“Out of Towners”
The fall weather brings an increase of tourism to the region, and this means a significant number of motorists who may not be experienced with mountain driving. This lack of experience creates a considerable hazard that can increase accident risk. These visiting drivers may drive at speeds that are unsafe for conditions and in a manner that is unsuitable for mountain roads. Similarly, all drivers are at risk of collisions involving snowplows and other maintenance equipment called out to keep the roads open for travel.