By Jeff S. Bartlett Last updated: October 15, 2018
Be on the lookout for deer while commuting or cruising to enjoy autumn's colors. Insurance claims for collisions with animals rise significantly in the fall when deer are mating, with the highest frequency in November.
The State Farm insurance company projects that there will be 1.33 million large-animal strikes in the coming year. It also estimates that the chance of a vehicle hitting bigger animals like a deer, elk, moose, or caribou is now 1 in 162 compared with 1 in 167 last year.
“Fall brings the dangerous combination of the deer being more active when we’re driving more in the dark due to the shorter daylight hours," says Jen Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center. "Stay attentive and make use of your high beams whenever you can to see farther ahead.”
These collisions can be fatal to the animals, but the most recent data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that 189 people were killed in crashes involving animals in 2016.
“The best defense is common sense,” says Russ Rader, an IIHS spokesman. “Slow down in areas where deer are prevalent. If you see one deer cross the road ahead, others are likely to follow.”
He notes that most human deaths in these crashes happen when a vehicle runs off the road or a motorcyclist falls off the bike after a collision. “Most of the human deaths would be prevented if every driver buckled up and every motorcyclist wore a helmet,” Rader says.
Read more from Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/how-to-avoid-collisions-with-deer-this-fall/