Monday, October 11, 2010

Deer Season is Upon Us and Collisions Are Up

A new study by State Farm insurance finds that deer collision claims are up 21 percent over the last five years, even though the miles driven by motorists are only up 2 percent.

Risks are impacted by the growing deer population and animal displacement due to urban development/suburban sprawl. The months of October, November and December are deer mating and migration season, making this an especially dangerous time for both deer and motorists.

Animal-vehicle collisions present a danger to motorists, property and wildlife, but there are precautions you can take to help avoid having a deer or other animal meet up with your car.
  • Slow down. Watch for deer especially around dawn and between the hours of 6-9 p.m. when they are most active.
  • Be aware. Look out for deer-crossing signs and wooded areas where deer or other animals would likely travel. And if you travel the same route to and from work everyday, you might find deer consistently grazing in the same fields. Make a mental note of when and where you regularly see these animals.
  • Be alert. If you see an animal on the side of the road, slow down, and, when traffic permits, put on your high-beam lights for greater visibility.
  • Brake, don’t swerve. Swerving to avoid an animal can put you at risk for hitting another vehicle or losing control of your own car. It can also confuse the animal as to which way to go. Just slow down as quickly and safely as you can.
  • Assume they have friends. The term “where’s there’s one, there’s usually more” usually holds true: Deer travel in groups, so if you see one run across the road, expect others to follow.
  • Buckle up. A seat belt is your best defense for minimizing your risk in a crash. The IIHS study found that 60 percent of the people killed in animal-vehicle collisions weren’t wearing seat belts.
Read more at Consumer Reports.

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