Deer, other animals present road danger

Drivers need to be careful this time of the year to avoid deer crashes.

But the odds are against you driving in Pennsylvania and Ohio and, especially, in West Virginia.

The odds of a Mountain State resident having an insurance claim because of a deer or animal collision is one in 38. In Pennsylvania, it is one in 52 and one in 102 in Ohio. West Virginia leads the country for the 13th year in a row in odds of a deer or animal crash, according to a report from State Farm insurance. Pennsylvania is third.

State Farm this year included all animals in its annual crash report.

The chance of being in a collision with a deer or animal increased this year in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to the report.

October, November and December are the worst months for deer crashes because of the mating season.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources reported about slightly half of the crashes involving deer in the Mountain State occur during that three-month period.

Drivers need to be alert for deer especially at dawn and after sunset, the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.

Drive with extreme caution when traveling through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from wooded areas. The West Virginia Division of Highways places signs in high deer-crash areas warning drivers.

Deer at this time of the year seldom run alone. Seeing one deer most likely means there are others nearby. If a deer crosses the road in front of your vehicle, chances are another will try to follow.

When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic.

High beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer standing on or near the roadway.

If a deer is seen on or near the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to try to scare the deer away.

Don’t swerve your vehicle to avoid striking a deer.

It is actually better to hit the deer while maintaining full control of the vehicle than to try to swerve out of the way. The Ohio State Highway Patrol notes more people are injured in wrecks because the driver tried to avoid the deer and ended up hitting another vehicle or going off the road into a ditch or a tree.

If you are involved in a deer crash, pull off to the side of the road and call law enforcement. Don’t approach the deer if it is still in the road.

Be alert during deer season.


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