Fall is a breathtakingly beautiful time of year accompanied by holidays and outdoor fun. Although there’s much to be thankful for during the season, it’s also a period marked by a steep increase in deer-related vehicular collisions.
Drivers should always stay vigilant on the road and keep an eye out for animals throughout the year, but deer become far more active from October through December. You can expect more deer to be active during Fall because of the shorter periods of daylight and cooler temperatures. Additionally, Fall also marks the beginning of hunting season which contributes to deer activity.
When deer become more active and crossroads, they can cause serious car wrecks. Drivers can hit a deer with their vehicle, or they may swerve to avoid colliding with deer, resulting in an even more serious wreck. If you drive on Kentucky roads, you need to be aware of the risk of experiencing a deer-related traffic collision, and you also need to know how to drive safely during these dangerous months.
Every Fall, Kentucky places the state under high alert for increased deer activity that can cause serious traffic accidents. Half of the state’s deer-related collisions occur between October and December. Kentucky has an estimated deer population of 900,000, and our deer population ranks 13th in the nation.
In 2020, there were over 1.5 million deer-related vehicle collisions nationwide. 150 of those collisions involved fatalities, and tens of thousands of injuries also occurred because of deer-related car accidents. Although Kentucky is not the deadliest state for deer accidents, we rank high above the national average. Drivers have a one in 37 chance of hitting a deer, and in 2020, Kentucky had 2,091 highway traffic accidents that involved deer.
Although residents in every Kentucky county should do everything they can to stay safe while on the road, certain Kentucky counties are deadlier than others when it comes to deer collisions. Calloway, Graves, Lyon, and Marshall counties rank in the Top 40 counties in the nation for deer-vehicle collisions. Additionally, McCracken County is also a highly dangerous county for deer accidents, but it does not quite rank in the Top 40.
Deer collisions contribute to around three fatalities in Kentucky every year, so you need to do everything you can to keep yourself and your passengers safe while driving. When driving during “Antler Alert” season, make sure to follow these safety measures:
- Wear a seatbelt: It’s always critical that you and your passengers wear seatbelts while traveling. Seatbelts are especially important if you need to make a sudden stop to avoid a deer because non-buckled drivers could be ejected from the vehicle.
- Slow down: If you see a deer or evidence of deer, you need to slow down your speed. Deer often travel in packs, meaning that you need to continue driving slowly even if a deer has already crossed the road.
- Follow road signs: You need to pay attention to signage that indicates deer activity. These signs are yellow, diamond-shaped, and they feature the image of a deer.
- Keep your brights on: If you’re not around drivers who may be blinded by your vehicle’s brights, you should keep them on in the evening to increase your ability to spot deer.
- Don’t swerve: Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Swerving can cause a more serious accident than hitting a deer, and you could swerve into another vehicle, resulting in potentially fatal injuries.
- Drive defensively: You need to drive defensively and keep a watchful eye out for deer. This is especially critical during dawn and dusk when deer are more active.
- Avoid distractions: You should always avoid distractions while operating a vehicle, and this can decrease your likelihood of hitting a deer. Never use your cell phone while driving.
- Crash safely: In the event that a wreck is unavoidable, you need to crash safely. As mentioned previously, never swerve to avoid a deer. Additionally, you need to keep your hands on the wheel. If it’s impossible to avoid the crash, you shouldn’t slam on your brakes. Slamming your brakes can cause the deer to travel up your car into your windshield. If you avoid slamming your brakes, you increase the likelihood of pushing the deer off of your car rather than it going through your windshield.
- Report accidents: If you experience a traffic accident that involves a deer, make sure to report it to the police. Road authorities and traffic engineers use crash data to mark areas with a greater risk of hitting a deer.
If you or a loved one experienced a car accident that was caused by a deer, you need to contact skilled car accident and personal injury lawyers. For expert representation, contact McCoy & Sparks. We’re recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firms, and we can help you handle your car accident case. Call us at 1-844-4KY-WINS (1-844-459-9467) or click here for a free, no-risk consultation.