According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are nearly 1.5 million car accidents each year involving deer. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that out of those 1.5 million accidents, nearly 200 drivers are killed. The majority of crashes involve deer running in front of vehicles, however, often times deer are launched through the windshield and end up in the car with the driver.
The most common time of the year for a collision with a deer to occur is during mating season- known as the rut- which typically falls between the months of October and December. During the month of November there is an overlap between hunting and mating season and drivers must be extra cautious. The mating rituals coupled with the movement of hunters through the woods can cause deer to dart from nearly any location. It is estimated that nearly half of vehicle accidents involving deer happen during this time frame.
Accidents with deer happen all across America, causing average per vehicle repair costs of around $3,000.00. This problem is especially prominent in West Virginia, the number one state in the country for deer/vehicle collisions, where the chance of a car and deer collision is an astounding 1 in 42.
Deer and cars can create a lethal combination and it is important to avoid this potential deadly situation by being attentive and slowing down. It is also beneficial to keep high-beam headlights on when driving in territory with a large population of deer. Leader of the AAA’s national driver training programs, William Van Tassel, suggests that when entering a roadway, it is key to look back and forth and play a “what-if game” and scan the area. When a collision seems unavoidable, it is best not to swerve but rather to brake and steer the vehicle in a straight line.