Collisions with deer (and to a lesser extent, other wild animals) are a major source of accidents in the United States. Every year there is an estimated 1.5 million animal vs. car accidents, mainly deer, which cause roughly 10,000 injuries, 150 deaths, and thousands of dollars in property damage. South Carolina is number nine on the list of states in which you are most likely to have a deer-related accident. The fall and winter months are the worst; specifically October through December sees massive increases in deer collisions. This is because of the timing of mating and hunting season, although deer-related accidents occur regularly, all year long. Sharing the state with wildlife means that often times, the wildlife will find their way onto roadways.
Tips for Avoiding Deer Accidents
Deer accidents can cause serious bodily injury or fatality at worst, and even if you are not injured, can cause major damage to your vehicle. There are some measures you can to minimize the possibility that you will collide with a deer:
- Always Pay Attention: Paying rapt attention while driving and vigilantly scanning the road ahead and to either side of you will help you be alert for signs of deer or other hazards. If you do see a deer, you should slow down and pass very carefully; sometimes when they become fearful they jump out into the middle of the road. Also remember a good rule of thumb; if you see one deer, there is a very good chance there are several more nearby. Always proceed slowly and with caution after spotting one.
- Be Alert for Warning Signs: The animal warning and deer crossing signs are not just randomly placed on the roadway. They are placed in areas known to officials to be places where animals frequently do cross or go into the street. However, lack of a deer crossing or animal warning sign does not mean there will not be any deer there; just that it is not a known common area to cross in.
- Be Extra-Cautious During Peak Hours: Deer are most likely to be out and about, traveling near the roadway, at dusk and at dawn. This is the time of day they prefer to go foraging for food. When driving at these times of day, be even more vigilant for the threat of deer on the roadway.
- Brake, Do Not Swerve: If you do spot a deer, you should reduce your speed and lightly and repeatedly tap your breaks, as a warning to other drivers. You may also sound your horn in warning. If there are no other vehicles on the road, it is ok to brake more forcefully. Braking is a much better option than swerving if at all possible, as swerving can cause you to go into opposing traffic or to drive off the road.
- Use Your Headlights Proactively: Make sure you have your headlights on at dusk, at dawn, and any time you need assistance spotting deer or other potential dangers. If you do see a deer, you should flash your highbeams several times. Deer can become mesmerized by headlights (they freeze, giving us the phrase “deer in the headlights”). For this reason, flashing the lights instead is considered more effective at encouraging deer to scurry away from you and back into the woods.
David Aylor Law Offices Can Help
Even if you follow all of the advice above, not all accidents with deer are preventable. If you have been injured or your car has been damaged as a result of an accident with a deer, you need a car accident attorney to help you try to recover for your damages. Call or email the team at David Aylor Law Offices now for a no obligation consultation, and learn how we can help you.