By Makenzie O'Keefe

(CBS4)– As you drive in Colorado, be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife. Colorado State Patrol says that animal-involved crashes have increased more than 5% this year.

(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

READ MORE: Laura Shepard Churchley, Daughter Of America's First Person In Space, To Fly In Blue Origin Rocket

Logan County has doubled the number of crashes from last year and La Plata County has tripled.

“It happens far too frequently for all of us when we get behind the wheel and have an animal encounter,” explained Trooper Josh Lewis with Colorado State Patrol. “Sometimes we get lucky, and we see the eyes glint off the side of the road and we are able to take precautions.”

Trooper Lewis said there are ways that drivers can be prepared for wildlife near the roadways. That includes driving the speed limit so you can be better aware of your surroundings and using high beams in rural areas or neighborhoods when no other drivers are on the road. That gives drivers time to spot wildlife and adjust.

READ MORE: Denver Weather: 'No Snow November' Becomes 'Dry December' This Week

(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

“When possible try to brake to avoid the animal,” Trooper Lewis said. “But not if it is going to cause another chain-reaction crash and cause you to get hit from behind or cause crashes behind you, it comes down to slowing down.”

More often than not, wildlife will quickly dart in the road meaning drivers have to make a split-second decision.

“What we don’t want is people making those quick or sharp maneuvers that send them into the opposite lane and causes more damage or heaven help us injuries or fatalities as a result,” Lewis explained. “Or going off the other side of the road and rolling their vehicle.”

MORE NEWS: Aurora Mother Whose Child Was Killed in 1995 Shooting Disturbed, Tired of Youth Violence After 5 Shot Over The Weekend

More tips from Colorado State Patrol include:
– Be prepared to make a tough decision when encountering animals.
– If you have time and space you can sound your horn and slow down in a straight line, coming to a stop.
– If you have very little time and distance and no one is behind you, you can brake hard in a straight line.
– If there is little time and you have traffic behind you, the right choice is to drive through, keeping in the lane, but with a slight angle towards the butt of the animal ONLY if by the white side lane line.
– Never swerve or jerk the wheel.

Makenzie O'Keefe