December peak time for deer collisions

Published 6:51pm Saturday, December 7, 2013

The chances of a motorist being involved in a deer-related automobile collision is one in 132, according to State Farm, but insurance agencies have provided safety tips that can help people possibly avoid being a victim.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 1.5 million car accidents involving deer per year. The peak season for a high rate of deer-vehicle accidents is November to January, according to Morris Agency’s Owen Peak.

“You see them out moving around more during daylight hours, especially in the cooler months, because they are out looking for food and then also for breeding season,” Peak said.

People should keep in mind to avoid collisions with deer with driving slower being first and foremost, Peak said.

“Drive slower and use high beams when possible, but obviously when no other vehicles are around, so they can see deer more,” he said. “It’s always a good idea to honk your horn so they aren’t mesmerized in your headlights.”

The State Farm’s September 2013 press release regarding deer-related accidents said December is the third most likely month for a deer-vehicle collision.

Peak said there are also deer whistles made to prevent drivers from hitting a deer on the road that people can attach to their car, but there is not 100 percent chance they are always effective.

“It’s just these two little things that you install on the front bumpers of your vehicle that creates a whistling noise that is supposed to deter the deer when a deer hears it,” Peak said. “It’ supposed to run the other way.”

He went on to explain why the device will not work in every circumstance.

“If the deer is standing in front of you, it causes it to run,” he said. “Then if you are trying to get around the deer, it may run into your vehicle. Statics do show that it does tend to decrease vehicle collisions, but it’s no guarantee. “

Peak said motorists should  avoid the urge to swerve to avoid deer.

“Avoid swerving if possible,” he said. “When there are deer in the road and you swerve, you miss the deer but have the potential of running off the road and hitting a tree. It’s better to hit the deer, then swerve off the road and potentially cause a serious injury to you and your passengers.”

State Farm’s press release states that one of the best ways to reduce the odds of hitting a deer while driving is to note that deer don’t often travel alone.

“Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby,” the State Farm press release stated. It also mentioned that deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

A collision with a deer can be quite costly, according to the press release. It sad the average cost of incidents in the final six months of 2012 and the first 6 months of 2013 was $3,414, up 3.3 percent from the year before.

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