Deer season starts a busy season for the collision industry. We here at Alexander know firsthand about advising you through the process of repairing your vehicle if you have a collision with a deer. We want you to be safe out there, so take a look at these facts and tips to help better prepare yourself when driving this deer season.
Deer and vehicle accidents are the most common type of vehicle accident responded to by the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP). The Ohio Department of Public Safety recorded 21,061 deer and vehicle crashes statewide in 2015. The numbers can be staggering and there are a lot of factors that contribute to the number of accidents. When you get behind the wheel it is important to be prepared and keep your guard up to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident with a deer.
Pay Attention to the Time
Deer are most active in the morning and the evening. Data from the OSHP identifies the top three peak times for accidents as 6:00 am – 7:00 am, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm. When driving during these times try to be extra vigilant and pay close attention to your surroundings.
Be Extra Careful During November
About one-third of the total reported deer and vehicle accidents that happen in Ohio occur in November. This is partly due to the change in seasons. Deer are actively looking for food to put on last-minute weight before winter sets in. White-tailed deer mating season also happens around this time. The exact time of mating season fluctuates from year to year. When it happens, bucks chase does and this can easily result in deer running into roadways either because they are being pursued or they are in pursuit.
Hunting season also falls during this time; although, in some counties hunting season now happens in December. When hunting season is in full swing deer may be on the move to avoid increased activity in the areas they normally frequent. Deer and vehicle accidents are more likely to happen during November, but they do happen outside November. Be aware and pay close attention.
Look Out for the Herd
Deer rarely travel alone. In the fall deer will be part of a herd. If you see one deer on the shoulder or in the road, be on the lookout for others. Slow down so you can better assess your surroundings.
Look for the Deer’s Eyes
Deer’s eyes reflect red or green when they look into light. When it is dark and your headlights shine into the eyes of a deer you should see this reflection. Be aware and look for the reflection. This tip also works to identify other animals. Given the placement of the eyes above the ground and the color reflected you can potentially notice an animal before it is too late.
Deer Are Unpredictable
If a deer is frightened there is no telling which way it will run. A deer may be running from another deer and when they see your vehicle that may cause them to change direction unexpectedly. It is possible whatever they were running from initially could catch up and cause them to change direction again. If you lose sight of a deer that does not mean you are in the clear.
Deer have a hard time walking on different road surfaces because of their hooves. You may see a deer running through an open field area very quickly, only to stumble and have difficulty when they arrive at a paved road. Just because a deer approaches quickly, do not assume they will maintain that speed and sure footedness when they get to the road.
Wear Your Seat Belt
Seat belts are proven to keep drivers and their passengers safe. Always wear your seat belt so in the event of an accident you will be as safe as possible. Also, when traveling with children make sure to use the proper booster and car seats and install these items properly.
Slow down when driving through an area known to have a large deer population. Road signs will alert a driver to areas with a lot of deer. It is best to play it safe when driving on a road that runs along a wooded area. The Ohio counties with the most reported vehicle and deer accidents, as of 2015 were Lorain, Stark, Hamilton, Richland and Clermont.
How to Handle an Accident
Unfortunately, vehicle and deer accidents still happen. If you are involved in an accident call 911 to report it. If the deer is injured and unable to get away do not go near the animal. Make sure to also call your insurance agent to start the necessary paperwork in order to repair your vehicle.
Practice Safe Driving During Deer Season
Being aware of times that are high risk and being cautious can reduce your chances of hitting a deer while driving. Deer accidents can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle and put you and your passengers in harm’s way. During deer season in Ohio make sure you are prepared and keep your guard up while driving.