State troopers warn people driving at night for the holidays to be aware of animals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -As you gas up your vehicle to get ready to hit the road over the next few days, you’ll want to be on the lookout for deer, especially at night.

“Wildlife is wildlife,” said Rico Stephens, North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper. “To them, the roadway is just another crossing. They don’t see it as danger.”

Thousands of people drive every year during the holiday season, particularly after dark. However, it can be risky due to the fact that wildlife sometimes runs across the highway.

Deer and many other animals tend to hang out in wood lines near roads, which is why Stephens says you should monitor your speed.

“Should you be in a collision with an animal, by reducing that speed hopefully you’ll minimize damage or any injuries,” Stephens said.

Many don’t enjoy driving at night because animal collisions happen often, especially in North Carolina.

According to a report by State Farm, the Tar Heel State ranks 17th among states with the highest risk for animal collisions.

Stephens says he wants people to remember not to swerve if they do come across an animal.

“If you see an animal in the road or it appears in front you and you are operating your vehicle,” Stephens said, “Try to bring your vehicle to a slow and safe stop.”

Stephens also wants people to know that if they hit an animal, not to get out of the car to remove it from the road because cars may not see them.