Written by Press Staff Writer
Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn is offering a reminder to motorists that November is the month with the highest number of vehicle-deer crashes.
The sheriff’s office handled 41 deer crashes in November 2008, Wasylyshyn said and in 2007, there were a record 61 crashes involving cars and deer.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 1.5 million deer-vehicle crashes each year in the U.S. Those accidents cause about 150 deaths and $1.1 billion in property damage annually.
Wasylyshyn offers these tips for avoiding hitting a deer while driving:
• Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for vehicle-deer collisions.
• Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland. Deer seldom run alone. If you see one deer, others may be nearby.
• When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
• Brake firmly when you notice deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
• Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car-deer crashes were not wearing their seat belts.
• Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not been proven to reduce car-deer collisions.
If you strike a deer with your vehicle, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road, if possible and call 9-1-1.
Contact your insurance agent or company representative to report any damage to your car. Collision with an animal is covered under the comprehensive portion of you auto insurance policy.