AAA Mid-Atlantic: Oh NO!(vember)
Deer, Darkness and Distraction: A Dangerous Combination for Drivers
WILMINGTON, DE (November 6, 2017) AAA is reminding all drivers that the chances of hitting a deer are much greater in November than any other month of the year. Now that daylight saving time has ended, there will be increased vehicular traffic between dusk and dawn – the peak hours for deer activity.
“Unfortunately, the height of deer mating season coincides with shorter, darker days which means drivers really need to look up, look out and limit distractions,” says Ken Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Commuters in particular are at greater risk because the deer are most active during the morning and evening rush hours.”
While hitting a deer could result in an expensive repair bill, AAA is reminding drivers that the outcome could be even worse. According to Delaware State Police, there were 1,668 deer crashes investigated in Delaware in 2016, compared to 1,791 in 2015 – 524 in New Castle County, 391 in Kent County and 876 in Sussex County.
“Deer typically cross between areas of cover, such as woods or where roads divide agricultural fields from woods,” says Delaware State Police Master Corporal Gary Fournier. “If you hit a deer, stop at the scene, get your car off the road if possible and call police.”
AAA is reminding drivers that the best way to avoid serious injury is to wear a seat belt and ensure that passengers do as well. And, AAA is reminding motorcyclists to wear helmets so that a minor crash does not result in a major tragedy.
AAA offers the following tips to help prevent a crash or to reduce damage from an animal collision:
- Keep your eyes moving back and forth. Continuously sweep your eyes across the road in front of you for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also be alongside the road, so make sure to look to the right and left, as well. While the most likely accident is you hitting an animal, on occasion they might also hit you by running into the side of your car.
- Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. – prime commuting times for many people.
- Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
- Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
- Slow down around curves. It’s harder to spot animals down the road when going around curves.
- Don’t swerve. Don’t swerve, instead, brake hard and stay in your lane. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause you to crash into something like a lamppost or a tree. If a crash is imminent take your foot off of the brake so the front of your vehicle can rise slightly. This helps lessen the chance of the animal rolling onto your hood and into your windshield.
- Always wear a seat belt. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seat belt on. Also never drive drunk, distracted or drowsy.
- Consider purchasing comprehensive insurance, if you don’t already have it. Comprehensive insurance is the type of insurance that covers animal strikes.
AAA Insurance reminds drivers that not all policies cover animal strikes.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with an object (e.g., another vehicle, telephone pole, guard rail or mailbox), or as a result of flipping over.
Comprehensive coverage is for damage to your car covered by disasters “other than collisions,” (in this case, contact/collision with animals) and are paid for under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.