Deer are found all over the US and present a serious road hazard. In Pennsylvania alone, 115,000 collisions are estimated to have occurred in 2013 resulting in $400 million in damage. Deer collisions used to be a hazard confined mostly to rural areas. However, the danger has spread to suburbia and even cities because of rising deer population levels.
While deer cross roadways year round, the last three months of the year are the peak season for deer being struck by cars. This is because mating season and deer hunting season both occur in the fall, which cause deer to become very active.
#1: Pay Attention to Road Signs
Areas where deer frequently cross the road are often marked with a deer crossing sign. These are placed for your safety, so be extra cautious, slow down and be ready to stop.
#2. Pay Attention to Natural Signs
Forests, rivers and fields are all likely deer habitat. If you notice deer hunters walking around, expect to see spooked deer making desperate road crossings in front of your car. Forest fires will also cause the same behavior in the animals. Therefore, be alert to deer crossings if you smell a good deal of smoke in the air.
#3: Scan Both the Road and the Landscape Ahead
It's best to spot deer and honk your horn before they step onto the road. Deer will often react by freezing or moving away from the road. If you are driving with passengers, ask for their help in spotting deer.
#4: Keep Tires and Brakes in Good Condition
If your tire treads or break pads have worn thin, get them replaced. Being able to stop your car within headlight distance won't be possible with tires and brakes in poor condition. Keep your tires properly inflated, and keep your speed down.
#5: Be Especially Alert During Morning and Evening Hours
Deer become very active during the early morning and late evening. They are also nocturnal. This behavior means they are even more difficult to spot. If you see one, expect to find others nearby because they are herd animals.
#6: Drive Defensively
Never drive while distracted. Keep your mind centered on driving and deer avoidance. Slow down when visibility is reduced because of mist, a curve in the road or a hill. A reduced speed makes it easier to stop and will help reduce the consequences of a collision.
Observing the above steps reduces the possibility of striking deer on the road. While deer are a problem any time of year, safe driving in late fall is especially important.
Get the protection you need. Call Buschbach Insurance Agency at (708) 423-2350 for more information on Oak Lawn auto insurance.