Nov 24, 2009
Watch how you steer: don't veer for deer!
I know that I have had some harrowing near misses during my 45 minute daily drive to work, and about five years ago, hit a deer and did $4,000 damage to my then Explorer.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are about 1.5 million car accidents with deer each year that result in $1 billion in vehicle damage, about 150 human fatalities, and over 10,000 personal injuries. The actual numbers are most likely higher because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's figures for deer accidents rely on inconsistent state reporting. There is no standard reporting of deer accidents in the country yet, and a “reportable deer accident” varies significantly between states.
However, in an insurance claim statistics study, the top ten states for deer accidents were listed. According to this study, Pennsylvania drivers experience more deer collisions than any other state with Michigan following close behind. The number of accidents increases with the deer migrating and mating season which occurs between the months of October and December.
The worst states for deer collisions based on total number of claims filed with one of the countries largest auto insurers are:
Tips to avoid deer accidents:
Be attentive when driving, especially at dusk. Slow down.
Use high-beam headlights when driving in deer territory to increase your vision as well as your time to react to a deer hiding on the roadside who decides to jump in front of your car.
The use of car-mounted “deer whistles” actually has minimal effect on deer and may result in drivers being less aware. You need to continually be on your guard.
If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, it is always best not to swerve to avoid it. Brake and hold the wheel straight. Turning the wheel to avoid the deer may result in a worse accident with another car, or cause the car to spin out of control resulting a in much more serious crash.