The fall, when deer are mating and in many rural areas drawn out of their habitat by hunters, is the time of year when the most deer-vehicle incidents are reported. While Maryland has seen a 27% increase in deer-vehicle collisions in the past few years along with increases in other states, there are things you can do to help minimize your chances of being one of these statistics.
Maryland is classified as a high-risk state for vehicle collisions with deer, which if you drive and live in our area doesn’t come as a big surprise to you! The same holds true for most of our neighboring states including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Though not in the top ten, statistics show that in Maryland, 1 in every 141 motorists will have a collision with a deer in the next 12 months. For the third year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a collision is most likely to occur at 1 in 39 with Pennsylvania 1 in 94, and Virginia rounding out the top 10.
Defensive driving tips to avoid hitting a deer:
- Sunset to midnight and during shortly before and after sunrise is prime time for accidents involving deer. These hours are when deer are feeding and can wander onto highways and roads.
- Drive slowly and alert through forested areas and farmland. Deer populations tend to be larger in these areas due to access to food.
- If you see one deer, there are almost always more. Slow down even if you think the deer is in safe distance from your vehicle. More may be on their way.
- Always use your high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic at night. The high beams will make it easier to see the deer.
- Slow down! Drive slow and use your horn if you see deer to scare them off.
- Do not swerve out of the way of the deer. Swerving often causes accidents with other vehicles on the road endangering more lives.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- If you get into an accident with a deer, do not try to handle or touch the deer yourself. Pull over, put your flashers on and call the police for help.
Contact your insurance agent (Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman, Inc. of course!) to report any damage to your car. Collision with an animal is usually covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy if you carry that coverage. http://www.iii.org/individuals/auto/lifesaving/deercar/