Last year, we posted an article “Don’t Veer for Deer!” and it’s time again to remind you to be watchful for our four-legged friends. Apart from humans, these beautiful creatures are the mostly deadly animals in the U.S. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there are approximately 1.5 million car-deer collisions in the U.S. annually, causing around $1 billion in losses. These accidents cause around 10,000 persons to suffer personal injury, averaging 150 fatalities each year.
It’s not the fault of the deer; urban sprawl is taking over their habitat in many parts of the country. Combining hunting season with deer breeding season increases the number of deer moving about. State Transportation Agencies post deer crossing signs in heavy populated deer environments. High fences are another deterrent for deer; however, these prove to be very expensive. Deer are spooked by the sound of their hooves on pavement, become blinded by car lights, and cannot judge the speed or distance of vehicles. They are very nocturnal animals, and are busy foraging for food.
Here’s some helpful reminders for all of us during this season, as we travel down the highways or country roads:
- Slow down and be attentive.
- Remember, dawn and dusk are prevalent times of day when deer are active.
- Don’t rely on deer whistles; they have been proven to not be efective.
- If you see a deer approaching your lane, do not swerve; many deaths have occurred when vehicles veered into other cars, or flipped out of control.
- Again, brake and hold the wheel straight!
- Avoid rural roads as much as possible.
- Ask your passenger to help you watch for them.
- Keep your lights on high beam in order to be able to see the side of the road better.
- If you injure a deer, do not attempt to help it. Pull over, and call he police or highway patrol. Animals that are hurt may hurt you!
No one wants to kill an animal with their car; however, it is better that the animal is killed or injured, rather than humans. The number of collisions with deer has grown 21% in the last five years, according to a report from State Farm Insurance. Deer populations in the suburbs are growing, where hunting is prohibited, thus offering a safe haven to deer.
A friend told me that she loved deer until she got a job that required her to travel around 90 miles round trip every day in deer country. She swears that they hit her, and others have told me the same thing. So, be watchful when you are traveling in their habitat. Fall is deer mating season, so they aren’t too concerned with traffic. A collision with a large deer can be dangerous for everyone in the vehicle.
(I still love deer, and hope one never hits me!) October through December are the months with the highest number of deer-car collisions. Then it begins to taper off through January and February. Please drive with care.