Deer Season--And Car Crash Time--Is Here

October 4, 2010

When a deer’s mind turns to love making, it’s bad news for motorists in states with large deer populations. The mating season for deer coincides, of course, with the highest rate of deer/car collisions. The collision rate is nothing less than alarming.

State Farm Insurance looked into the rate of deer involved crashes back in 2009 and found that 2.4 million vehicles collide with deer every year. The state with the highest incidence of fur flying was Pennsylvania which ranked number one with the highest number of crashes with deer. However, the state whose drivers have the lowest odds of hitting a deer is West Virginia at 1 in 39.

They don’t establish these odds in Vegas or the North Pole for that matter: it’s arrived at by comparing the number of registered vehicles in the state to the number of reported deer crashes.

Drivers in Michigan are the next most likely to assist in the untimely demise of a white-tail deer at 1 in 78. In 2009 the state reported 61,486 vehicle-deer crashes, in which 10 of the collisions involved fatalities.

Some of the information that is known about deer crashes in Michigan, which has a Michigan Deer Crash Coalition to check on such things, is common to deer in just about every location. About half of all the crashes happen between October and December and they are more likely to occur on two lane roads around the hours of dawn and dusk.

The coalition has embarked upon an educational outreach to the public after acknowledging that it would be impossible to eliminate all deer crashes.

Here are some of their tips on avoiding and surviving deer crashes as reported in the Battle Creek Enquirer :

 • Stay alert especially at dawn and dusk, watching for deer on the side of the road.

• If one deer crosses, assume there are more.

• Don't rely on flashing headlights or honking the horn to deter deer from crossing.

• Do not swerve to avoid a deer. Brake firmly and hold onto the steering wheel.

• After a crash pull off the road if possible, stay away from the deer because it may not be dead, and call police

 Efforts to control the problem have centered on herd control and warning systems. Using contraception and authorized hunts, the hope is to reduce the problem at its source. On the other front early warning systems were reported by CBS News to have been used in Minnesota, where deer interrupt a laser beam which triggers an alarm to motorists. In New Jersey an alarm system is set off by car headlights that scare deer from the roadway.

Since this is a problem that may not ever go away, it is the responsibility of the motorist to be concerned with his own welfare and that of his passengers.

[Battle Creek Enquirer, Pittsburgh Live, CBS, Flickr ddebold]               

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