Active deer season increases chances of animal-vehicle collisions

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OKLAHOMA CITY - In the month of November, there is an increase in deer activity statewide, putting drivers at risk of losing thousands of dollars on vehicle repairs and possibly their lives.

AAA released information from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office saying in 2011 there were nearly 500 crashes reported involving deer, of these two were fatal and 184 resulted in injury. Nearly 23 percent of all deer crashes in 2011 were in the month of November.

Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma says  “Remaining alert and limiting distractions is a must. Animals are unpredictable, so the sooner you see them in the roadway, the more time you will have to safely react.”

AAA has some tips on how to react if an animal runs in front of your vehicle.

What to do if an animal runs in front of your vehicle

  • Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you. Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if an animal is spotted. Also, remember some animals move in groups, so when there is one, there are usually more in the area.
  • Use high beam headlights if there’s no oncoming traffic. Wildlife may be spotted sooner when using high beams. This will give the driver time to slow down, move over or honk the horn to scare the animal away. High beams also help in spotting some animals’ reflective eyes.
  • If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or result in drivers losing control of vehicles.
  • Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk. Most animals, especially deer, tend to be more active early in the morning and at dusk.
  • Slow down and use extra caution when traveling through areas with a high and active wildlife population. Be aware of increased wildlife movement in some regions during certain times of year such as hunting or mating season.
  • Drivers should always wear a seat belt and remain awake, alert and sober.

Carl Wagnon of Carl's Automotive repair warns drivers of the high prices of deer/vehicle collisions "A decent deer hit varies from 3500 to 6500. " he says its a hefty price to pay compared to other incidents but when it comes down to it "if you're gonna hit him try to slow down as much as you can but please do not swerve to miss the animal and kill yourself."

Below is a map the per-state probability in 2013 of being hit by a deer: