Oh Deer! They’re on the Move!

by Gwen Newell

Did you know October through December is considered to be the worst months of the year for vehicle collisions with animals? With mating season taking place during this time, deer specifically are a lot more active, which means the chances of them darting into the roadways are higher, further increasing the risk of a potential, deadly collision.

According to NCDOT, there was an increase of more than 2,300 animal-vehicle crashes in 2019, with the overall figure reaching 20,331 crashes – of which 90% are assumed to be deer. The months of October through December account for 51% of those crashes. In the most recent data provided by SCDPS, South Carolina reported 3,086 collisions with animals in 2019.

The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) says that from 2010-2019, almost 2,000 people were killed in animal-related crashes. With that data in mind, AAA is warning drivers to limit distractions and be on the lookout for the animals, especially during the morning and evening hours when deer are most active and most likely to intersect with drivers.

As upcoming holiday travel begins, AAA is urging motorists to keep an eye out for deer on the roads this season in order to avoid collisions. A few tips to keep in mind include paying extra attention during the hours of 5:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., as deer are most active during this time. If you do in fact spot a deer, slow down and watch out for other deer that may follow. Lastly, while slowing down, honk your horn to scare the animal. Brake firmly and do not swerve!

In the event you do experience an animal collision, immediately move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway if possible. Your safety and the safety of your passengers is what’s most important. Once you are in a safe location and no longer driving, turn the vehicle’s hazard lights on and call the police. Finally, you will need to contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to report any damage to your vehicle. So, if you can do so safely and without entering the roadway, take photos of the damage.

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