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Over the years, the deer population has exploded. As this number increases, so does the amount of deer related collisions with vehicles. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) conducted a study about the growing dangers from deer related accidents. They approximate that over 1 million deer related accidents happen annually, and of these accidents, there are 10,000 injuries and 175 – 200 fatalities each year. Unfortunately, as our population continues to grow and we continue to expand, their habitats become smaller and deer are forced into areas in which we drive. Most drivers know that these animals can appear suddenly and without warning. What can we do about preventing deer collisions? There isn’t any 100% way to prevent a collision like this, but knowing how to react when in this situation can reduce your chances of being involved in an accident.
- Pay attention to signs! The deer crossing signs are there for a reason. These signs are used in areas where deer traffic is much heavier, but don’t think that in areas where there isn’t a sign means there are no deer.
- Deer can be active any time of day, but the early mornings and evenings are the most active times and this is where we see most of deer related accidents. When possible, use your high beams to spot deer in the road ahead. High beams should only be used when there is no oncoming traffic. Also, know that if you see one deer, more should be nearby. Most deer travel in packs.
- Most importantly, do not swerve. In an attempt to miss the deer, swerving will cause drivers to move into oncoming traffic, crash into a tree, or the possibility of rolling over. This is the leading cause of injuries and deaths from deer related accidents. It’s best to slow down as much as possible and even blow your horn. If the deer does not move, the best solution is to hit the deer. The damage is usually minimal and is fixable. Keeping yourself, passengers, and other drivers as safe as possible is the number one priority!