I live in a residential area in a city with a population of about 200,000 people. It’s probably hard to imagine that with all the housing, highways, retail establishments, schools, office buildings and everything else that makes up a city this size that we would have a pretty high deer population – right in the neighborhoods – but we do. In fact, I live just across the road from a cemetery and a slightly wooded area, which ends at a highly trafficked street, and the deer love to hang out in the woods across the road and explore the cemetery at night, especially at dusk. From my deck, it’s not unusual to see five or six deer creep out from the cemetery, while the cars are speeding down the street only a few yards away.
Deer really do seem to appear suddenly out of nowhere, and since the deer population seems to be increasing, the number of incidents involving a deer jumping into the path of a car has been on the rise in the past few years, especially in my area.
Most deer activity is the greatest during this time of year- mid September through December – resulting in vehicular collisions. Generally, a deer/car collision can result in significant vehicle damage, and can even be life-threatening. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), on average, deer-vehicle collisions cost $2,800 per insurance claim, and the cost increases to $10,000 if there is an injury involved.
Here are a few tips to stay safe during deer season:
• Watch the Clock
Deer are most active from sunset to midnight, and during the hours just before and after sunrise, which are known to be feeding times.
• Watch your Speed
It’s not just the speed of the animal that plays a factor-it’s the speed of the vehicle, too.
• Be Alert
Remember that deer don’t roam alone. The chances are high that if you see one, others are sure to follow or are nearby, just out of sight.
• Don’t Swerve
If a deer suddenly appears in front of you on the road, honk your horn to frighten it away. Press the breaks firmly but stay in your lane. Collisions happen when we swerve to avoid a deer, only to hit other car, or lose control behind the wheel.
• Wear your Seat Belt/Use a Car Seat
Many injuries in deer/car crashes have been the result of drivers and/or passengers who were not buckled in, or car seats which were not installed properly.