If you live in deer country, chances are you’re familiar with how to navigate your backcountry roads. But for the millions of Americans hitting the roads for the holiday travel season, collisions with deer are a significant concern.
During the months of October, November and December not only are there more cars on the road, but the deer are more active as it’s during their mating period. For this reason, deer can behave quite differently than they might during other times of year.
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In State Farm’s annual report on deer collision claims it found that West Virginia and Montana were the two states where motorists are most likely to strike a deer. Pennsylvania, Iowa and South Dakota were close behind.
In West Virginia motorists have a 1 in 41 chance of colliding with a deer, a 5.4 percent increase from the year previous. In Montana the chances are 1 in 58, in Pennsylvania 1 in 67 and in South Dakota 1 in 70.
All this is to say be careful this holiday season. From the insurance adjusters at State Farm they have the following advice for driving in deer country. And because hitting a deer is just no fun for anybody.
- Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn
- If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road
- Pay attention to deer crossing signs
- Always buckle up, every trip, every time
- Use your high beamsto see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic
- Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which could result in a more severe crash
- Remain focused on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals
- Avoid distractions, like devices or eating, which might cause you to miss seeing an animal
- Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, which are not proven effective
- If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear and keep focus on the road ahead
“We know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season,” said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. “However, drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times, because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or any other obstacle that may suddenly be in your path.”
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