Deer in the Headlights

Collisions peak during deer mating season, which is from October to December.

Now more than ever, watch for deer in the road. According to State Farm, deer-car collisions are on the rise. They are up 21 percent over the past two years compared to five years ago. Collisions peak during deer mating season, which is from October to December. When bucks chase does during the mating period, they behave much less cautiously.

In Oregon, a driver faces a 1-in-300 chance of hitting a deer every year. The average damage is around $3,000, and about 150 fatalities result from these collisions each year in the United States.

Here are some safe-driving pointers to reduce the chances of colliding with deer:

  1. Respect deer crossing signs. They exist in locations where collisions have happened before.
  2. Deer are most active between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. Use more caution during these hours.
  3. Most deer travel in herds, so if one crosses the road in front of you, more may be coming. Slow down.
  4. Use high beams when possible to give more warning.
  5. Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles.
  6. If a collision is inevitable, brake hard but do not swerve.
  7. It is better to hit the deer than the vehicle in the other lane or the tree next to the road.

-George Rode


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