With shortened daylight hours, inclement weather, and increased activity in the animal population, November sees the highest number of car collisions with deer. This year in Indiana, numbers are down just a bit, but car repair shops are still getting a good amount of business.
According to The Register-Mail, deer-related crashes decreased by about one percent between 2012 and 2013, from 15,495 to 15,334. About 40 to 50% of crashes that occur during the transition between fall and winter — the months of October, November, and December — are due to collisions with deer.
Though these months see the highest percentage of deer collisions, according to Ozarks First, November is the peak month. Collisions with deer don’t just cause damage to the vehicle and the animal — they cause injuries and deaths as well. According to the National Safety Counsel, there were an estimated 35,200 auto-related deaths in 2013 — six of them in Indiana were the result of colliding with a deer.
“We’re already seeing signs,” Michelle Terpening, an estimator at a collision center in Indiana told the Register-Mail, confirming the IDOT report. “We get [deer-related wrecks] all year long, but they’re more common in the fall and close to winter.”
There are some things that drivers can do to decrease their chances of hitting deer:
- Reducing speed when driving near heavily wooded areas, water, and farm fields.
- Being more attentive during twilight hours when deer are more active.
- Avoiding swerving to keep from hitting a deer.
- Knowing that deer travel in groups; where there is one, it’s likely that more are following close behind.
- Making sure to look at both sides of the road when approaching areas where deer may cross.
Before an accident does occur, drivers should make sure to call their insurance agencies to see if damage from a deer-related accident is covered, since repairs can be very costly — with the cheapest repair jobs still running about $1,000.