TFC Michael Murriell
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 14, Ashland
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Avoiding deer tips
Date of News Release: 11/01/2011
Deer / Auto Collisions in Kentucky
(Ashland, Ky.) -- Believe it or not, when it comes to our worst enemy in the animal kingdom, sharks, alligators, snakes and other commonly feared animals need not apply. In fact, none of the "terrifying" animals portrayed as " killers" in our culture are responsible for the most human deaths.
The animals that claim the largest number of lives in the United States are deer. "The Insurance Information Institute estimates that there are more than 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 occupant deaths, tens of thousands of injuries and over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage. An additional billion dollars is spent on medical payments for injuries to people in the car and out-of-pocket expenses paid by vehicle owners, bringing the total cost to approximately $4.6 billion. The average claim for deer-vehicle collisions is $3,000, with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of the damage." (quoted from (http://www.iii.org/press_releases/warning-to-motorists-fall-is-peak-season-for-deer-vehicle-collisions.html)
While the percentage of deer collisions resulting in a fatality is relatively low in Kentucky as compared to the nation, it is extremely important to recognize this ever-present risk. October, November, and December months see a huge increase in deer activity because of the run of mating season. Nearly 47% of all collisions with deer annually take place during this three-month period. November is by far the month of highest deer / auto collision incidence.
Annual deer collisions for 2006 – 2010
Defensive Driving tips to avoid hitting a deer
- Keep a close watch for deer in the early morning and evening hours. Deer are most active during these times.
- Be especially alert and drive with caution when you are moving through a known deer crossing zone.
- Use your high-beam headlights whenever possible.
- Upon seeing a deer, immediately slow down. Do not swerve - because this can confuse deer as to where to run. It could also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car.
- Look for other deer after one has crossed the road. Deer are often found in herding packs.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Most people injured and/or killed in deer - automobile collisions were not wearing their seat belt.
If you are unable to avoid a collision with a deer, take the following steps:
- Do not touch the animal! The deer, in attempting to move or get away, could hurt you or itself.
- Remove your automobile from the roadway, if possible.
- Call the police.
For additional statistical information, visit : http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/deerauto.htm