Defensive Driving

Mark Wasylyshyn, Wood County Sheriff, is reminding all drivers that November is the highest month for vehicle /deer crashes. In 2013 we handled a total of two hundred and three vehicle/deer crashes. In just November of 2013 we handled thirty eight crashes. To date this year we have handled one hundred and twelve vehicle/deer crashes. According to the Insurance Forum Institute the average cost per insurance claim for collision damage is $2,800, with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of damage. When you factor in auto claims involving bodily injury, the average rises to $10,000.

Defensive driving tips to avoid hitting a deer.

  • Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle 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. When 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 a 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 belt.
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

If your vehicle strikes a deer, 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 your auto insurance policy.