Brace yourselves! October is here, and it’s the start of the annual three-month increase of deer collisions in Kentucky. This is the time of year when the likelihood of encountering a deer on the road increases dramatically. In 2014, the Kentucky State Police (KSP) reported a total of 3,092 deer collisions, which resulted to 62 injuries and three deaths.
Why is there an increase in deer accidents in the fall and winter?
Automobile collisions with deer increase from October to December in conjunction with deer mating season. Likewise, it can be attributed to the deer’s natural act of migrating in the fall. It’s also hunting season, and there are more hikers in the woods.
- More than 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year in the country. This results in 150 occupant deaths and tens of thousands of injuries.
- The month of November has the highest deer/auto collision incident rate.
- Deer are most commonly seen in the early morning, between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., and in the evening, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- The average claim for deer-vehicle collisions is $3,000.
- Deer collision claims amounting to $23.4 million were filed with the Kentucky Farm Bureau in 2014. From those, about 43% occurred in October to December.
Deer crashes in Kentucky
Kentucky’s ranking for deer-vehicle crashes has also increased. In 2012, Kentucky ranked 16th for the most number of deer crashes, but in 2014, it went up to 13th place. With these figures, Kentucky drivers need to be very careful and cautious. To help avoid deer collisions, here are some tips to consider:
- Watch for deer crossing signs that are posted to alert drivers about the areas generally populated with deer.
- If traveling early in the morning or in the evening, exercise additional caution. Deer are usually seen along roadways in early morning and early evening.
- Use high beams when driving at night. This is to increase vision.
- If you see a deer, slow down immediately.
- Avoid swerving if a deer is on the road because it could confuse the animal and prevent it from choosing a direction to flee or cause an accident with another vehicle. If you do spot a deer in the road, brake firmly and keep your vehicle headed in a straight line.
- Always properly wear your seat belt. The KSP reported that most fatalities or injured victims in auto collisions with deer were not wearing their seat belts.
As a Kentucky Auto Accident Attorney, I want to remind all Kentucky drivers to be more alert and focused during this time of year. Now that there’s an increase in deer activity on the roads, we need to not only focus on the road, but also scan the side of the road for animals. Kentucky has many highways and roads that are surrounded by woods. Please pay attention to deer warning signs and keep an eye out for deer along the roadways.