According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 1 million car accidents with deer each year that kill 200 Americans, cause more than 10,000 personal injuries, result in $1 Billion in vehicle damage and kill an estimated 188500-390000 large wildlife a year(including deer, moose, panthers, bear). 80% of all wildlife collisions involve deer. Statistically, most car vs. deer accidents occur between the months of late October to early December, which also coincides with the deer's mating season. It has also been noted that more accidents occur during the night, or anytime between dusk and dawn. This is because deer are a very nocturnal animal and spend most of their time foraging at night. With all this information, it's clear that drivers must take every possible precaution when driving.
The following list reviews the top ten ways to keep yourself safe, minimize your chances of a car/deer collision when driving while protecting our native precious wildlife:
1. When at all possible, avoid driving between dusk and dawn.
2. Try to avoid rural roads and poorly lit areas. Pay special attention to deer or wildlife crossing warning signs. When signs are posted accidents decrease by 34%.
3. Be particularly vigilant when driving through areas with high foliage or low hanging branches on the roadside. If there are two people in the car, ask your passenger for help watching the sides of the road.
4. Reduce your speed, and don't overdrive your lights. The most common remark people make after they've been in a car deer collision is that the animal "came out of nowhere."
5. If you see one deer on the side of the road and you're fortunate enough not to hit it, be sure to slow down, because where there is one deer, there will often be others.
6. Always wear your seatbelt.
7. Use high beam headlights as much as possible to light the sides of the roadway.
8. Do not ride motorcycles in areas with high deer populations. Riding a motorcycles leaves you much more vulnerable to serious injury in an accident than does driving a car. 85% of deer-motorcycle collisions result in human fatalities.
9. Finally, if a collision with a deer is eminent, brake firmly and hold the wheel straight. Look to where you want your car to go. And it may sound horrible but hit the deer at an angle. Let up on the brake just before direct impact. This action causes the front end of your car to rise, reduces the risk of the deer coming through your windshield and tosses the deer up and out of the way hopefully without life-threatening trauma. Too often, drivers swerve trying to avoid the animal, and drive off the road or into the path of another car. These accidents can often be more serious.
10. If you do hit a deer and it is still alive, it may be stunned and could become very aggressive if aroused. be careful if you approach it. Most veterinarians will treat injured wildlife and if needed, humanely euthanize them if the injuries are severe. Wildlife rehabbers for the state of Ky can be found online at http://fw.ky.gov/app1/rehablist.aspx
If you drive a great deal in the United States, especially in areas with high deer population, you are at risk of hitting a deer. However, with these guidelines in mind and a good dose of common sense, you can reduce that risk and keep yourself and your passengers safe and our wildlife alive.
Did you know? In 1999, skunks accounted for 21 of the 35 and bats accounted for another 6 of the confirmed cases of rabies in Kentucky, 76% of the cases. In 2013, skunks and bats were 81% of reported cases. Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. People get rabies from the bite of an infected, or rabid, animal. Wild mammals like raccoon, skunks, foxes, coyotes or bats can have and transmit rabies. Domestic animals like dogs, cats, horses and cattle also can transmit rabies to humans. Current post-exposure prophylaxis is nearly 100 percent successful in preventing rabies in humans. Most fatalities from rabies occur when people fail to seek prompt medical assistance or are unaware of the exposure, as with some of the cases associated with bat rabies. Approved rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep and ferrets. Animal rabies vaccines should be administered only by, or under the direct supervision of, a licensed veterinarian. Proper and up-to-date vaccination of your pets is your first line of defense against rabies.
Is your pet current on their rabies vaccine?
Cathy-Licensed Vet tech with 28 year experience.