Fall is peak season for deer and auto collisions and that means drivers along the nation’s roadways need to be especially vigilant, according to theInsurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). Deer migration and mating season generally runs from October through December, and causes a dramatic spike in the movement of deer population. As a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year.
In fact, an estimated 1.22 million deer-vehicle collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, a 3.5 percent decrease from a year ago, according to an analysis by State Farm, the nation’s leading auto insurer. However the average insurance claim for this type of collision in the same time period was $3,414, up 3.3 percent from the previous year with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of the damage.
- Deer are not just found on rural roads near wooded areas; many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities.
- Deer are unpredictable, especially when faced with glaring headlights, blowing horns and fast-moving vehicles. They often dart into traffic.
- Deer often move in groups. If you see one, there are likely to be more in the vicinity.
- Drive with care when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of any deer on or near the roadway.
- Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before or after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
- Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
- Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not proven effective.