Oh, Deer! Beware of Animals in the Road
It’s deer season, and drivers should take extra care to avoid hitting animals in the road from now through January. The number of collisions with deer is especially high during this period (and the worst in November) because it’s the season for deer breeding and migration.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, collisions with deer are most frequent in West Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. These crashes tend to happen in rural areas, but drivers everywhere across the U.S. should be careful. Deer species are found in all 50 states, so a collision could happen anywhere (even though the chances in Hawaii are incredibly slim!).
Vehicle-animal collisions kill about 200 people and cost about $1.1 billion in property damage every year. You don’t want to wreck your car, and you certainly don’t want to injure yourself. So make sure you are prepared to avoid a collision with deer and other animals in the road.
Tips on Avoiding Collisions with Deer
- Look for animal crossing signs. Be extra careful in areas with these warning signs. Use your high beams so you can spot animals in the road from a greater distance
- Drive slower at night. You should always respect the speed limit, but it’s especially important to do so after dark. Driving at a slower speed gives you more time to react to animals or other road hazards.
- Deer travel in groups. If you see one deer, others are probably lurking nearby. Don’t make the mistake of slowing down for one animal just to accelerate into another down the road.
- Be extra careful at dusk and dawn. Deer are most active during the crepuscular hours, so take special care in the early morning and just after sundown.
- Don’t swerve, don’t slam on the brakes. If you do encounter a deer or any other wildlife in the road, slow down gradually and honk. Swerving could cause you to lose control. Sudden stops or movements could also scare the animal, causing it to run right into your path.