News & Media

How to Avoid Deer-Vehicle Collisions: Collisions with deer can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage and can even be deadly

by Tiffany Barkley (Taylors-Wade Hampton Patch)
October 26, 2012

November is not only a popular month for deer hunting, it’s also the month drivers are most likely to hit deer, according to a recent survey from State Farm Insurance. 

About 8 in every 1,000 South Carolina drivers hit a deer last year, according to the study.

Deer-related collisions are on the rise nationally, according to State Farm. They jumped 7.7 percent over the last year. 

The average cost for property damage caused by the collisions was more than $3,300, according to the insurance company.

But State Farm and The Humane Society of the United States have some tips to help drivers avoid a run-in with deer on the road. 

The Humane Society named next week ‘Give Wildlife a Brake’ Week, reminding drivers that the first step in avoiding the collisions is to slow down. 

Tips from The Human Society include: 

  • Follow speed limits. Many animals are hit simply because people drive too fast to avoid them. This makes the roads safer for other drivers and pedestrians, too.
  • Watch for wildlife in and near the road at dawn, dusk, and in the first few hours after darkness. Keep in mind that where there is one animal, there are probably others—young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a female.
  • Be especially cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields, or where streams cross under roads. Most animal/vehicle collisions occur on these roads. Slow down to 45 mph or less.
  • Scan the road as you drive, watching the edges for wildlife about to cross. This will also make you more aware of other hazards such as bicyclists, children at play, and slowly moving vehicles. 
  • Don’t throw trash out car windows. Discarded food pollutes the environment and creates a hazard by attracting wildlife to the roads. 
  • Use your high beams whenever possible.
  • Lower your dashboard lights slightly. You’ll be more likely to see your headlights reflected in the eyes of animals in time to brake.

State Farm offers these tips: 

  • Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.
  • Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
  • Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
  • If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Don’t rely on car-mounted deer whistles.