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Deer on Road

As fall approaches, drivers everywhere will have a new set of factors to consider as they get behind the wheel. Earlier sunsets mean less visible roads and, depending on where you live, a change in weather could result in more rain or snow. These are just a few conditions drivers can expect as the season changes.

But the fall also signifies the seasonal migration of animals, particularly deer, throughout large parts of the country. One-third (34%) of all animal collision comprehensive claims are filed during the fall, according to Farmers Insurance. 

Many roads have signs indicating that deer crossings can be expected, but what should drivers do to prevent a collision with a deer? What should drivers do if they do hit a deer? Because deer collisions are estimated to cause more than $1.1 billion in vehicle damages annually, drivers should prepare. Farmers Insurance has suggestions to help drivers to reduce their risk. 

Where are the most animal collisions occurring?

Across the country, the likelihood of an animal collision occurring varies greatly. The driving experience in New York City will naturally differ from the driving experience in North Dakota. With this in mind, here are the percentages of collisions with animals based on comprehensive claims occurring across the country. 

  • Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana): 37%

  • Midwest (Colorado, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Wyoming): 24%

  • South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana): 27%

  • Southeast (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee): 27%

  • Greater Great Lakes (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin): 50%

  • Mid-Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia): 50%

  • New England (Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island): 28%

Facts and figures to consider

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans who participated in a recent Farmers/ORC International survey think stopping short or swerving should they encounter a deer on the road is usually the best option to minimize damage.

This is more likely to result in drivers losing control of their car and hitting barriers, other cars or causing rollovers. Of multiple vehicle chain collisions, which is any collision involving more than two vehicles, 31% occur in the fall. Only 12% of motorists strongly agree with experts that hitting the deer directly may be the better alternative to minimize the potential for damage. 

Five states, in particular, are reporting the highest percentage of claims coming from animal collisions between September and November. 

  • Iowa (65%)

  • Montana (60%)

  • Wisconsin (60%)

  • Pennsylvania (57%)

  • Minnesota (55%)

Best driving practices for the fall

Try to schedule drives during the daylight hours to reduce the likelihood of an animal encounter. Wildlife is more active at dusk and dawn, and limited vision during those times will make it harder to spot an animal. 

If you must drive at night, always buckle up. The average adult male deer weighs around 200 pounds — meaning a collision will pack a punch, regardless of the car's speed. Using the middle lane on a multi-lane road will allow drivers more time to spot an animal that may be crossing. 

Use your high beams, when appropriate, while driving at night (when there is no fog) to increase visibility and spot animals more quickly. Look for signs indicating heavy animal traffic lies ahead. And if you do see one, remember that deer tend to travel together. 

Steps to take if you hit a deer

  1. If you hit an animal, pull over and call local law enforcement. They can direct you on what actions to take. In some states, there are special requirements regarding animal collisions.

  2. Stay away from the animal because it may only be stunned. It may panic causing additional harm to you or your vehicle if you're too close.

  3. Once home, check with your state's department of motor vehicles to make sure you've covered all your bases.

As the fall approaches, drivers should consider the growing number of risks the season presents. Keeping these helpful tips from Farmers Insurance in mind will help drivers stay safe as we transition into the fall. 

yellow puzzle piece   RELATED: Read Oh, Deer! Drivers Beware, It's Deer Season   yellow puzzle piece

Read more Fall  Driving tips like:

SOURCE - Property Casualty 360Oh, Deer! What Drivers Should Know About Animal Collisions

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