Deer Collisions Peak in November

While they are declining nationwide at an increasing rate, State Farm estimated 1.09 million collisions involving deer and vehicles occurred in the United States from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011.

Some state highway patrols are reminding motorists to be especially vigilant for deer because crashes typically peak this month, and many Americans take to the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday week. The Tennessee Highway Patrol posted a reminder that said deer-related crashes are likely to increase through December.

"As the weather turns colder, the chances of seeing deer on or near our roadways increase dramatically," said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. "November is usually the worst month for deer-related crashes. We want to remind all motorists to be especially alert at dawn and after sunset and to exercise extra caution when not traveling on major thoroughfares."

There were 5,406 deer-related crashes in Tennessee during 2010, including 281 that involved injuries and one that was fatal. The total was up by 1.6 percent from 5,320 the previous year. Deer-related crashes are declining nationwide at an increasing rate, State Farm reported last month. Still, the company estimates 1.09 million crashes occurred nationwide from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011.

State Farm calculates the state-by-state likelihood that an individual driver will collide with a deer and provides a map showing it. West Virginia drivers have the highest likelihood, followed by those in Iowa, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wyoming. The insurer says Pennsylvania is the state with the highest total number of such collisions from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, with 101,299, followed by Michigan, with 78,304.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency offer these tips to prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

  • Remember that mating season puts deer on the move, and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.
  • Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
  • Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.
  • Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run.
  • When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly until you pass that point.
  • If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.
  • In the event of a deer crash, move the vehicle as far off the road as possible and call for assistance.

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