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Kara Hitchens
Senior Specialist, Public and Government Affairs, OH
O: (937) 224-2817
C: (937) 558-8427
khitchens@aaa-alliedgroup.com

TOLEDO, OH - Fall is officially here and AAA is warning drivers to be more cautious on the roads. Deer mating season is beginning and October, November and December are the most dangerous months in Ohio for motor vehicle collisions with animals. A collision with a deer or other animal can put a serious dent in a vehicle, if not destroy it completely, possibly resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.

“Animal-vehicle collisions start to increase in October and peak in mid-November,” said Pat Brown, AAA Driving School Supervisor. “For that reason, motorists need to be even more cautious and alert behind the wheel, especially at dawn and dusk, which can be the times for high levels of deer activity.”

 

 

Northwest Ohio

(alpha order)

 

2019 Total Deer Crashes

 

Defiance

 

493

 

Fulton

 

258

 

Henry

 

252

 

Lucas

 

310

 

Ottawa

 

226

 

Paulding

 

218

 

Williams

 

431

 

Wood

 

434

 

 

Defiance, Wood and Williams counties placed in the top five Ohio counties for deer-related crashes in 2019.

According to 2019 data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 19,350 deer collision crashes reported in Ohio with the majority of crashes occurring during the months of October, November and December. Although striking a deer during this season is common, drivers swerving—in an attempt to miss the deer—is another very common cause for crashes. This can be a fatal mistake because the driver may hit an oncoming motorist head-on.

“Deer and other animals can be unpredictable and might dash out in front of your vehicle. But there are actions you can take to help prevent a crash or reduce the damage from an animal collision,” noted Brown.  “First and foremost, drivers and passengers should always wear a seat belt and take steps to avoid distractions behind the wheel.”

AAA offers these safety tips to help drivers avoid a crash or possibly reduce damage caused by vehicle/animal collisions:

  • Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Continually scan roadways. Drivers should continuously sweep their eyes across the road in front of the vehicle looking for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also travel alongside the road, so make sure to look along both sides of the roadway, as well. While the most likely crash happens when drivers strike an animal, on occasion the animal may run into the vehicle.
  • Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many wild animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. – prime commuting times for many people.
  • Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. To spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
  • Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if drivers see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
  • Slow down around curves. It’s harder to spot animals when going around curves.
  • One long blast. A long blast of a horn may frighten animals away from the vehicle.
  • Resist the urge to swerve: Instead, drivers need to concentrate on keeping the vehicle in the marked lanes of travel with both hands firmly on the wheel. Swerving away from animals may place drivers in the path of oncoming vehicles or result in a crash with something along the roadway   like a lamppost or a tree.
  • If the deer collision crash is imminent drivers should take their foot off the brake: during hard braking the front end of the vehicle is pulled downward which can cause the animal to travel up over the hood towards the windshield. Letting off the brake can protect drivers from windshield strikes because the animal is more likely to be pushed to one side of the vehicle or over the top of the vehicle.
  • Always wear a seatbelt. Also never drive impaired, distracted or drowsy.
  • Drivers should consider purchasing comprehensive insurance, if they don’t already have it. Comprehensive insurance is the type of insurance that covers animal strikes.

A Costly Crash/Are You Covered?

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 fatalities and tens of thousands of injuries. Crashes involving deer can pose great risk to motorists, but even a crash in which no one is injured can be costly. AAA Insurance reports the average cost per deer-related claim in Ohio in 2018 was nearly $4,000.  Drivers are advised to make sure they know how much coverage they carry in the event of a crash. Collision coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with an object (e.g., a telephone pole, a guard rail, a mailbox), or as a result of flipping over. Comprehensive coverage is for damage to your car covered by disasters “other than collisions,” contacts (in this case, contact/collision with animals) and are paid for under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.

In the event of a deer/animal collision AAA Insurance recommends:

  • Following the collision, call the police.
  • Avoid making contact with the deer/animal. A frightened and wounded animal can be dangerous and pose a threat when approached or might further injure itself.
  • Activate the vehicle’s hazard lights whether it’s light or dark outside.
  • If possible, move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway, and wait for help to arrive.
  • Drivers should contact their insurance agent or company representative as quickly as possible to report any vehicle damage.

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AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

 

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