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Is There a Deer in Your Headlights?

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Deer-car collisions can be a very serious situation for drivers. Recent growth in deer populations has led to an increased frequency of deer-car collisions, especially in areas where new construction is taking place.

According to the National Safety Council, there were 530,000 animal-related accidents in 2003 and these collisions resulted in 100 deaths and 10,000 reported injuries.

The average cost per insurance claim for animal-related collision damage is $2,800, with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of damage. When you factor in auto claims involving bodily injury, the average rises to $10,000.

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To avoid become a statistic in a deer-car accident, you need to follow these important tips:

  • Be aware of posted deer-crossing signs, as they denote unusually high deer populations or frequent deer crossings. Many highway areas are marked with deer-crossing signs where there have been numerous deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds, especially during the mating season. If you see one deer, assume more will follow.
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences, and reflectors to deter deer. Many of these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
  • Two-thirds of all deer-vehicle collisions happen during October, November, and December. Daily deer activity peaks at dawn and dusk, which often are peak commuter traveling times.

If you do hit a deer, don’t leave the scene of the accident; contact your local police. If you do leave the scene, many states consider this a hit and run situation.

Follow these simple tips to keep you and your family safe and to protect deer and other wildlife.

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