While deer/ wildlife and vehicle collisions can happen at any time of the year, the majority of the accidents happen between the months of October and December. The main reasons for this include mating season and hunting season says the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The NC DOT also states that the majority of deer/ wildlife collisions happen between 5:00 p.m and 7:00 a.m. due to limited lighting.
Along with offering stats, the NC DOT offers the following tips to avoid having an accident with a deer this fall:
- Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the dark hours of fall;
- Drive with high beams on, when possible, and watch out for eyes reflecting in the headlights;
- Remember that deer often travel in groups, so do not assume that all is clear if one deer has already passed; and
- Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash.
In addition to the above safety tips, SmartMotorist.com offers the following tips on avoiding hitting a deer:
- Be vigilant in early morning and evening hours, the most active time for deer.
- Use your high-beam headlights, which reflect in the deer’s eyes, to see the deer better.
- Alow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
- Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path. Do not swerve. It can confuse the deer as to where to run. It can also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car.
- Be alert and drive with caution when you are moving through a deer crossing zone.
- Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
- Look for other deer after one has crossed the road. Deer seldom run alone.
According to this map by State Farm Mutual, North Carolina is a “high-risk state” when it comes to a vehicle colliding with a deer. State Farm Mutual has also published a state-by-state spreadsheet of how they determined the numbers viewed in the aforementioned map.
Bottom line, like it is with any aspect of driving a vehicle safely, keep your speed safe and be on the look out.
* Photo courtsey of Mark Robinson via Flickr Creative Commons.