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Deer Hunting Season…For Your Car

Nov 09, 2011 11:09PM ● By Anonymous
It’s autumn and a deer’s fancy turns to other deer during their October through December mating/migration season. This is bad news for drivers. The incidence of auto-deer collisions rises sharply during this period. In fact, November is the most likely month to have an auto-encounter with a deer.

Maryland ranks 13th among all 50 states in the likelihood of a collision with a deer. (We have a 1 in 119.5 change of hitting a deer within the next 12 months.) Considering the number of times each week we see the sad sight of a dead deer along the roadway, it’s surprising we don’t rank higher. The number one spot, however, belongs to West Virginia where its unlucky drivers have a 1 in 53 chance. And these are costly encounters. The average property damage cost of these incidents during the final half of 2010 and the first half of 2011 was $3,171. (All of these statistics are compiled annually by State Farm Insurance.)

But that is insignificant compared to the human toll. Just two weeks ago a 21-year old New Jersey college student was killed in a car accident involving a deer.

According to the folks at State Farm, however, there are steps you can take to avoid being part of their numbers next year:

• Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.
• Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
• Use high beam headlights as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter the roadways.
• Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds—if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
• Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles. [Devices that purportedly emit an ultrasonic noise humans can’t hear.]
• If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.