As urban areas continue to push outward and displace animals from their natural habitats, and as formerly empty rural lanes become plagued with traffic, collisions between cars and the animals seem an almost inevitable consequence. Car-deer collisions, the most common throughout most of the country, cost an average of $1,500 in damage each, according to Michigan figures, and nationally there are thousands of injuries and more than 100 fatalities each year as the result of collisions with animals.With those figures in mind, here are some tips on how to minimize the chances of hitting deer — and other animals — on the highway:Take special care near deer-crossing warning signs. Be aware that deer adapt well to living close to humans and that populated areas are as likely to have many animals around. The signs are there for a reason.. News source: Autos.AOL Minimize your distractions from passengers, food and accessories like cell phones. If your full attention is on the road, you’ll be more likely to spot approaching animals with your peripheral vision. Get in the habit of scanning the roadside as you drive.Use your high beams whenever possible. They will give you more time to spot and react to animals in the road.Keep your speed down at night. Most collisions do occur on narrow, two-lane rural highways, but they can occur on any type of road. Just because an interstate highway has animal fences doesn’t mean animals won’t get inside.If you see one animal, expect that there are others nearby. According to the Animal Protection Institute, 70 percent of deer-car collisions result after the driver slowed down for one deer and then accelerated, failing to see another.Like Animals?Check out these animalrelated stories:The Prodigal Dog 10 Animal Related Jobs Know which seasons and times are worse than others. The period each day from an hour before sunset until midnight is the time when the most collisions occur, but the hours around dawn are also risky. Deer are on the move more in fall and early spring, but in the summer they tend to sometimes be out during daylight times. Be especially watchful for animals in fair weather periods before storms.If you do see a deer or other animal in the road ahead, don’t slam on the brakes. Keep your lane position and sound your horn while braking in a controlled manner. Sudden panic stops are not a good idea, as they could spook the animal, perhaps causing it to suddenly dart into the path of another vehicle.Do not try to swerve around an animal! You could lose control of your vehicle and hit a tree or another vehicle — both potentially much worse than hitting a deer. If you swerve, there’s also a chance that the animal will panic and run into your path.Always consider if the land along the highway could host large animals, and if you think it could, anticipate that they might run out into the road. It’s much easier to anticipate animal encounters and be ready to react calmly than to deal with the costly expenses, injuries and guilty conscience of a collision.