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'Tis the season for car-deer accidents

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The peak season for deer-car crashes is October to December.

Each year these accidents account for more than 150 human, and nearly one and a half million deer fatalities.

Experts attribute this problem to the combination of deer mating and migration habits along with the shortened daylight hours.

According to Pam Rossok, Insurance representative for Therese Cunningham's State Farm Insurance this is the time of year where they see more accidents.

"We had two deer hits in the last week. These types of accidents can do quite a bit of damage," said Rossok.

"We haven't had any people injured but deer have been known to come through a windshield. If they are still alive, they are kicking and flaying and can hurt the people inside the car," she added

Generally, the damage is to the front end of the car or the side of the vehicle according to Rossok.

This week we saw damage to a side door and mirror. Often we see a lot of damage to the front end," said Rossok.

According to State Farm Insurance claims data, the numbers of deer-vehicle collisions in Indiana are up 24.2 percent from five years ago.

That compares to a 14.9 percent increase over the entire United States.

State Farm estimates the chances of an Indiana vehicle colliding with a deer over the next 12 months at one in 127.

Indiana is ranked as 11th in the list of probability in hitting a deer.

West Virginia leads with the chance of hitting a deer being one in 45 in that state.

Average property damage costs for these incidents are about $2,950. That number is also up from a year ago at 2.5 percent.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are approximately 1.5 million deer vehicle collisions annually in the United States, causing more than 150 fatalities and $1.1 billion in property damage.

State Farm's data shows the number of these collisions in the U.S. has increased 14.9 percent from five years ago.

The combination of growing deer populations and the displacement of deer habitat caused by urban sprawl are producing increasingly hazardous conditions for motorists and deer.

Here are some tips from State Farm on how to reduce the chances of having an accident involving deer.

Believe there are deer when you see a deer crossing sign.

These are placed in active deer crossing areas.

Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.

Use high beam lights as much as possible at night to illuminate areas where deer may enter the road.

Keep in mind that deer travel in herds.

If you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.

Don't rely on car-mounted deer whistles. They don't work.

If a collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your car or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

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-- Posted by BG-reader on Mon, Oct 20, 2008, at 10:31 AM

It's also time for more farming implements on the road -- be patient, be cautious.

-- Posted by BG-reader on Mon, Oct 20, 2008, at 10:33 AM

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