AAA: Deer-vehicle collisions, repair costs on the rise
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - With Daylight Saving Time ending and deer activity spiking, AAA urges motorists to keep an eye on the road or pay a high price.
According to AAA, deer collisions become more prevalent this time of year, with peak breeding season happening in November.
That often means more deer crossing roads and highways.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year, with hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries.
Not only do those collisions take a toll on lives, but they can also hit a driver’s pocketbook hard.
AAA reports the average deer-related claim in Arkansas costs $6,466. That’s 29 percent more than the previous year.
“Repair costs can be even higher depending on the damage to a vehicle,” said AAA Spokesperson Nick Chabarria.
To reduce the risk of hitting a deer, AAA suggests:
- Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
- Keep your eyes on the road. Ditching distractions is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re ready for when a deer comes out of nowhere.
- Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m., prime commuting times for many.
- Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
- Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
- Resist the urge to swerve. Instead, stay in your lane with both hands firmly on the wheel. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause you to crash into something.
- If the crash is imminent, take your foot off the brake. During hard braking, the front end of your vehicle is pulled downward, which can cause the animal to travel up over the hood toward your windshield. Letting off the brake can protect drivers from windshield strikes because the animal is more likely to be pushed to one side of the vehicle or over the top of the vehicle.
If You Hit a Deer, AAA Recommends
- Call the police.
- Avoid making contact with the animal. A frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself.
- Put the vehicle’s hazard lights on, whether it’s light or dark outside.
- If possible, immediately move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway, and wait for help to arrive.
- Contact your insurance agent or company representative as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car.
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