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Deer


The issue of deer-vehicle crashes has remained consistent over the past several years. Recent studies have attempted to focus on deer habits with a particular emphasis on location since these deer-related incidents tend to occur in rural areas. There are additional practical considerations that drivers should keep in mind in order to reduce these type of crashes involving deer. These considerations primarily involve reduced speeds, attention to locale, and methods for avoiding crashes if a deer is encountered.

Deer-related Crashes in North Carolina Increase in the Fall
The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center: Motor vehicle crashes involving deer typically peak during the fall months in North Carolina, and the state’s most recent crash data indicate that trend continued in 2015. Last year more than half of all deer-related crashes in North Carolina happened in October, November, December and January.

“Deer-related crashes increase in the fall during prime mating season,” said David Harkey, director of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. "Motorists should be especially cautious when driving in the early morning and early evening hours. Last year, three out of every four deer-related crashes occurred between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.”

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Deer are Causing Big Problems for Alabama Drivers
Alabama motorists are getting a costly reminder to look out for deer while driving.

State Farm, Alabama's largest auto insurer, says in a statement that there were 28,794 insurance claims connected to deer collisions from July 2015 to the end of June. The company says one in 135 Alabama drivers are likely to collide with a deer — a figure that's higher than the national odds of one in 164.


The national cost per claim average is $3,995.


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As temperatures drop, be aware of deer near roads
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(Source: WSFA 12)(Source: WSFA 12)

It's that time of year, when the temperatures drop, and the deer seem to come out of the woods; literally.  

State Trooper say the turn of the season is when they start to see an increase of crashes that involve deer in the road.

The majority of accidents involving deer tend to take place in more rural areas that are not so developed and populated. But even in areas that have been recently developed, the deer may still be nearby, and on the move.

So State Troopers say this is the time to make a plan, just in case you have to put it into action one day.

“We work a ton of crashes involving deer vs. vehicles,” said State Trooper Jesse Thornton.

Nearly 2,100 last year, to be exact. Most of them happen right about this time of the year.

“When cooler temperatures come, they become more active, and when hunting season comes you also see a more prevalence of deer as well,” Thornton said.

Thornton says now is a good time to know what to do, before you ever spot a deer in the first place.

It start with being aware of your surroundings.

“Pan around on the outskirts to see possible threats, including deer, and understand that they're animals and you can't predict what they're going to do,” Thornton said.

When you do see a deer on the side of the road, Thornton says it's a good idea to honk your horn.

“They'll hear the sound and that may deter them, from either coming out in the road, or speed them up getting out of your way in the highway, if you've got time to do that,” Thornton said.

And if it does jump out in front of you, brake hard, and don't swerve. 

“We work a lot of crashes where people won't strike the animal, but they'll end up going off the roadway, hitting a tree or overturning their vehicle,” Thornton said.

And most importantly, buckle up.

“In the event that you're involved in a collision with a deer, if you've got that seat belt on, you may prevent injury.”

Last year, accidents involving deer killed three people in Alabama. Even if no one's hurt, a deer collision can be pretty costly. According to ALFA insurance, the average cost to repair your car is about $2700. 

It's also important to remember that deer tend to travel in packs, so if you see one, there are likely several more nearby.

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