How can drivers be aware of deer out on the road?

West Virginia

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GHENT, W.Va. (WVNS) — Being in the midst of white-tailed deer mating season, means November is the peak time for deer.

Lindsay Thomas Jr., Chief Communication Officer with the National Deer Association gave tips and advice to help drivers steer clear of deer. According to Thomas, due to the mating season, drivers will start to see them more at the beginning of dawn and dusk.

“Now is the best time to become vigilant,” Thomas said.

According to AAA, hitting a deer could become costly. The average insurance claim for a deer strike in 2020 was more than $3,400.

“Safety is priority one, so first and foremost we are encouraging motorists to adjust their driving behaviors to prevent a collision. But they may also want to adjust their insurance coverage because a minor deer strike may mean a major expense,” Insurance Manager for AAA, Angela Hoskins said.

Here are some tips to help avoid an accident with an animal:

  • Stay vigilant
  • Slow down
  • Avoid swerving
  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • When driving at night, use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic
  • Honk your horn
  • Watch for other deer to appear
  • Be on the lookout on the morning and evening commutes

If a collision occurs, move the vehicle to a safe location, call authorities, call the insurance company and take pictures of any damage to the vehicle. Do not engage with the hit animal, as it is possible they could hurt you or themselves. Thomas also mentioned it’s not always the best option to take the deer without the necessary permission.

“Before you load a deer, make sure you have clearance from the authorities,” Thomas said.

The rules for loading a hit deer depend on a state-by-state basis. Another busted myth is deer whistles. Both AAA and Thomas said there are no studies that have determined that deer whistles work.

“The Insurance Information Institute advises against relying on devices such as deer whistles and reflectors, which have not been proven to reduce collisions with animals,” the release said.

For more information about deer or animal collisions, go to the AAA or the National Deer Association website.

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