OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – AAA is warning Oklahoma drivers to be alert as the chances of deer-related vehicle crashes are on the rise.
According to AAA Oklahoma, deer are on the move due to mating season and the search for a more secure habitat.
Deer-related vehicle crashes peak in mid-November during the height of the mating season, according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office says 186 vehicle crashes reported in 2017 were deer-related.
AAA Oklahoma says drivers should be prepared if the inevitable happens.
Be insurance prepared
- Purchase comprehensive coverage as part of your insurance policy or check with your insurance agent to make sure you have it. Vehicle damage due to collisions with animals is included in comprehensive coverage.
Be driving prepared:
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- 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.
- Pay attention to road signs.
- 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.
- Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic.
- 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.
- One long blast. A long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your vehicle.
- Use brakes if an impact is imminent. Don’t swerve. Instead, stay in your lane. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run.
- “If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said Gamble. “More serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to miss deer and lose control of their vehicle, leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic.”
Be Crash Prepared:
- Move your vehicle off the roadway to the shoulder, if possible, and call for law enforcement at *55. Make sure you tell the dispatcher if the animal or your vehicle is still in the road.
- Do not try to move the animal. An injured deer might panic and seriously injure you. Law enforcement or animal control officials can remove the animal from the road when they arrive.
- If possible, move the vehicle to a safe location, off the roadway, and wait for help to arrive. Turn on your hazard lights.
- If in a congested area, stay inside the car with seat belts on to avoid injuries from secondary crashes. Do not stand near your vehicle – especially between your car and another one. Watch for approaching traffic.
- Take pictures to document the crash once the scene is secured from traffic.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.