This month brings is the beginning of deer mating season, which causes an increase in deer collisions. Insurance companies have reported a spike in claims during the months of November & December. The average cost for repairs after a collision is $4,135. In 2013, there were at least 12,945 deer hit and 191 deaths in Maryland as a result of these collisions. Maryland ranks twenty-second among all states for the number of car versus dear crashes and drivers have a one in 134 chance of getting into a deer collision. West Virginia ranks first, Pennsylvania fourth, Virginia tenth, North Carolina sixteenth, Ohio twentieth and Indiana twenty-third. To avoid a collision, keep the following in mind:
- Be extra cautious during dusk and dawn. These are the prime times for deer to be moving, especially between 6-9 p.m. These times also limit visibility because the sun causes glares, which can affect your vision.
- Don’t swerve. Firmly break, but stay in your lane. You want to avoid the secondary collision and if you swerve, you increase the risk of hitting another car or leaving the road.
- Drive slowly. Be extra cautious where deer warning signs are present and slow down in areas surrounded by farmland or forests.
- Scare the deer away. Give your horn a short, firm blast to scare the other deer away. Flash lights.
- Use your brights. They help you see the road better and can illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the road.
- Deer usually travel in groups. If you see one, chances are there’s another close by.
The most important thing to remember is to buckle up, slow down and be alert. If you hit a deer, be sure to do the following:
- Get your vehicle off the road if possible & turn on your hazards.
- Call the police. They can stop and direct traffic if necessary and get your insurance information for your claim.
- Document the incident. Take photos of everything including the deer, your car and any injuries. Get contact information of witnesses if they saw the crash.
- Don’t touch the animal. If it is alive, it could still hurt you. It could also be carrying a disease.
- Contact your insurance company. Start the claim process as soon as possible.
- Check your vehicle for damage. Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. If you have any doubts, call a tow truck.