As you’re out on the roads leaf-peeping, visiting apple orchards or commuting to-and-from work this autumn, keep a sharp eye out: The likelihood of striking a deer more than doubles in the fall.
Your normal odds of a ruminant-related collision claim is about 1 in 169, but the likelihood more than doubles during October, November and December, according to research by State Farm.
“Periods of daily high-deer movement around dawn and dusk as well as seasonal behavior patterns, such as during the October-December breeding season, increase the risk for auto-deer collisions,” said Ron Regan, executive director for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “Changes in collision rates from year to year are a reflection of changing deer densities or population levels – more deer in a given area increases the potential for collision.”
Here are some other grim facts:
- 191 deaths were the result of collisions with animals, with deer being the animal most often struck in 2013
- The national cost per claim average is $4,135, up 6% from 2014 ($3,888)
If you see a deer in the road, should you swerve or not? Mike Winterle of Culture of Safety says don’t swerve:
“The leading cause of accidents, injuries, and deaths from deer-related accidents is when vehicles swerve in an attempt to avoid hitting a deer. Swerving can result in vehicles moving into oncoming traffic, crashing into trees and other objects, or evening rolling over. While it may be against a driver’s first instinct, the safest thing to do is slow down as much as possible and let your vehicle strike the deer. Instincts tell us to avoid an obstruction in the road, but if you can train yourself to not swerve to avoid deer in the road you will keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers much safer.”
Here are some other tips from experts on how to avoid hitting wildlife:
- AAA: Wildlife Crossing: Tips to Avoid Animal-Vehicle Collisions
- Canada’s Wildlife Collision Prevention Program: Hints for the Highway – What Can Drivers Do
- Insurance Information Institute (III): Avoiding Deer Car Collisions
III has some other advice for drivers: Cars and Deer – A Risky Combination; Consider Including Comprehensive Coverage on Your Auto Policy
For auto insurance advice, find a New England independent insurance agent – our members are the best!