Time to Pay More Attention to Deer on the Roadways; 2013 Marked 4th-straight year of more than 20,000 animal-related crashes in N.C.
Posted 10/13/2014 10:06:32 AM
RALEIGH — The arrival
of the fall season not only means dropping temperatures and leaves, but also an
increase in the chances of a collision with a deer across North Carolina. Between 2011 and 2013,
nearly half of the more than 61,000 animal-related crashes
took place in October through December. About
90 percent of those involved deer.
Department of Transportation study shows that in 2013, there were 20,308
animal-related crashes, a slight increase over the 2012 figure, but still well
below the numbers reported in 2010 and 2011.
Over the past three years, animal-related crashes claimed 18 lives, injured more than 3,400 drivers and
passengers, and caused more than $149 million in damages.
“Drivers need to be careful on the roads all the time, but even more
so over the next few months,” said NCDOT Director of Mobility and Safety Kevin
Lacy. “Increased deer activity and
decreasing daylight hours mean vigilance by motorists needs to increase for
their own safety and the safety of others.”
For the 11th year in a row, Wake County led all counties in the number
of animal-related crashes with 1,135, a slight increase over 2012 figures. That
is primarily due to the combination of decreasing amounts of wooded area in the
county and the increasing number of drivers and road mile usage.
Guilford County had more than 500 fewer animal-related crashes (620)
and was the runner-up for a second year in a row. Duplin and Pitt counties tied for third with 539 animal-related crashes, followed by Randolph
(499) and Johnston (492) counties. Rounding out the top 10 were Columbus,
Rockingham, Mecklenburg and Pender counties.
Counties in the far western section of the state, where there are
considerably fewer drivers and road mileage, once again reported the lowest
number of crashes. Swain County had the fewest number of animal-related crashes
with 5, falling just below Graham (9) and Jackson (11) counties.
Deer are on the roadways more during the fall into winter months due
to the hunting and mating seasons. They also travel more at dawn and as it
grows dark in the evenings, with the largest number of crashes coming between 5
and 8 a.m., and 6 and 10 p.m. In addition to more deer moving about and
crossing roads at those times, decreased driver visibility makes it more difficult
to see animals on or near roadways.
NCDOT offers the following
suggestions for motorists to avoid being in a deer-vehicle crash:
Slow down in posted deer crossing
areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and
evening;Always wear your seat belt. Most
people injured in deer-vehicle crashes were not wearing their seat belt;Statistics indicate most
deer-vehicle crashes occur in areas where deer
are more likely to travel through, such as near bridges or overpasses, railroad
tracks, streams and ditches;Drive with high beams on when
possible, and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights;Remember that deer often travel in
groups, so do not assume that if a deer crosses the road, there won’t be
others following;Slow down and blow your horn with
one long blast to frighten the deer away;Increase the distance between your
vehicle and other cars, especially at night. If the car ahead of you hits
a deer, you may also become involved in the crash;Do not swerve to avoid a collision
with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, flipping
it over, veering it into oncoming traffic or overcorrecting and running
off the road, causing a more serious crash;Do not rely on devices such as
deer whistles, deer fences or reflectors to deter deer as these devices
have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle crashes; andIf your vehicle strikes a deer, do
not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or
further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road
if possible, and call 911.
View on NCDOT.gov
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