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Avoiding Collisions with Deer

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Avoiding collisions with deer.
Deer are on the move throughout North Carolina between the months of October and December, and drivers should remain vigilant on the roads to remain safe. ​
​​Fall is a beautiful time of the year in North Carolina but from October to December, drivers must remain vigilant on the roads to avoid deer-vehicle collisions​. Deer movement increases dramatically during this time because of mating and hunting seasons,​ and limited lighting makes it more difficult for drivers to see them on or near roads.

According to the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Unit, about 7 percent of all vehicle crashes in the state involve animal strikes – most of these involve deer.

Wake County had the highest number of animal crashes for a three-year period from 2019-2021 with 2,770. Wake County usually leads the state in the animal report due to its large geographic size and its fast residential growth.

County Rankings

​From 2019-2021, the top 10 counties in the state had a combined 16,597 animal crashes over the last three years. Those crashes caused a nearly combined $48.7 million in damage, 751 injuries and six deaths. The top 10 counties in animal crashes for three years combined are as follows:


​County
​Animal Crashes
​1. Wake 
​2,770
​2. Pitt 
​1,908
​3. Guilford 
​1,874
​4. Randolph
​1,686
​5. Union  
​1,518
​6. Duplin 
​1,412
​7. Robeson 
​1,378
​8. Mecklenburg  ​
​1,363
​9. Columbus 
​1,357
​​10. Brunswick 
​1,331

Safety Advice

Below are important tips regarding animal (usually deer) crashes:

  • Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash. 
  • Slow down in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
  • Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams and ditches.
  • Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for deer eyes reflecting in the headlights. 
  • Deer often travel in small herds so if you see one deer near a road be alert for others.
  • If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast
  • Do not swerve to avoid a collision. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and cause a more serious crash.
  • If your vehicle does strike a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road, if possible, and call 911.

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11/28/2022 3:02 PM