Can you really avoid hitting a deer? There are ways to better your odds

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s peak time for deer-related crashes in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

This time of year there is always more deer activity and that leads to many of the animals getting onto roadways. The worst time is October through December, but deer crashes can happen anytime.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Brown says, just last year, they saw around 250 deer-related crashes just in Mahoning County. Statewide, it was close to 18,000, three of which resulted in a fatality.

Trumbull County is one of the top counties in the state for deer crashes behind Stark, Richland and Hancock. Interstate 80, US 30 and I-71 see the most.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there are ways to avoid hitting a deer:

  • Scan the road ahead: Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if an animal is spotted. Also, remember some animals, like deer, move in groups, so when there is one, there are usually more in the area.
  • Use high beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic: This can help you spot deer or other wildlife more quickly and give you time to slow down, move over or honk the horn to scare the animal away. High beams also help in spotting animals’ reflective eyes.
  • Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk: Deer tend to be more active in the early morning and at dusk. That’s why these are peak times for deer-vehicle collisions.
  • If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane: Swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Drivers who swerve to miss a deer and hit something else may be charged for an at-fault crash.
  • Always wear a seatbelt and remain awake, alert, and sober: The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on. If you’re distracted or drowsy, you’re not properly scanning the road for deer and could end up spotting them too late.

What to do if you hit a deer:

  • 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.

Since 2016, statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol show there were 100,672 deer-related crashes on Ohio’s roads. While 95% of deer-related crashes only resulted in property damage, 27 involved fatal crashes where 28 people were killed.

If you are involved in a deer related crash, call 911, try to get your car off the road way if possible, and if not, to put your hazard lights on.

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