GUEST COLUMN: Auto-Deer Collisions becoming more common in our area

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

By Robyn Lea, State Farm Agent | Guest Columnist
 
As dusk falls and visibility becomes more difficult, two deer leap onto the road. It’s not an uncommon sight for many drivers, especially in October, November and December.
New data shows U.S. drivers on average have a one in 109 chance of a collision with an animal, according to State Farm’s annual analysis. The company estimates there were almost 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021 (almost 200,000 more claims than in the previous 12-month period observed).
Mississippi ranks No. 7 for animal collisions with a one in 57 chance of hitting an animal. You can lower your risk by staying alert and being cautious in areas near woods or water; using your high beams, flicking your high beams on an animal in the road. High beams also help illuminate dark roads.
 
If you come upon an animal, try not to swerve. Maintain control of your vehicle and do not veer off the road.
Other tips include:
*Brake as necessary; try reducing your speed, honking your horn and tapping your brakes
*Be aware during peak season and during the rut/mating season
*Know typical animal mealtimes and watch for animals between dusk and dawn
*Watch for herds as deer tend to move in groups
*Do not use whistles on your vehicle as there is no scientific evidence to support that car-mounted deer whistles work
*Wear seat belts and obey speed limits
Even if you are vigilant, auto-deer collisions can happen. If you hit a deer, move your vehicle to a safe place and turn your hazard lights on. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and out of the way of any oncoming vehicles.
Be sure to call the police so they may secure the scene for other drivers. The police can determine how best to move the animal.
Stay away from the animal. A frightened, injured deer can still harm you. Do not assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Check to be sure your vehicle is drivable after colliding with a deer. Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won’t latch and other safety hazards. 
If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a tow.
Robyn Lea is a State Farm Insurance agent located in Vicksburg. She can be contacted at robyn.lea.mdjg@statefarm.com.