AAA is warning motorists that this is the time of the year more deer will be on Oklahoma’s roadways and to be on the lookout for them, especially at dusk and dawn.
“We’re entering deer mating season and the time when deer are searching for food to build up fat reserves for the winter,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Plus, deer populations are high in Oklahoma right now – increasing the risk of car-deer collisions. Already this fall, motorists have tragically died in crashes with deer in the state.”
The Insurance Information Institute estimates there are more than 1.6 million collisions with deer annually nationwide, resulting in about 150 human deaths, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $3.6 billion in vehicular damage.
“Keep in mind, deer can run as fast as 40 miles per hour. They may suddenly bolt onto the road, catching motorists off guard,” said Mai.
AAA Oklahoma offers the following tips for drivers:
Buckle up and don’t speed. A decrease in speed gives you more time to react.
Be observant. Look for deer-crossing signs indicating areas where deer frequently travel. Deer are creatures of habit and may often use the same path again -- remember where you see them.
Reduce distractions in the vehicle and stay alert. A deer standing near a roadside may suddenly run across the road. Slow down and use your horn to scare the deer. Never shine or flash your vehicle’s lights. This can cause the deer to fixate on your vehicle. Use high-beams for greater visibility.
Look for groups. Deer travel in groups, so if you see one crossing the road ahead slow down, as there are probably others in the area but out of view.
Never swerve. Instead, slow down and brake. Swerving can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and strike another vehicle or object along the roadway.
Do not rely on devices. There is no conclusive evidence that hood-mounted deer whistles and other such devices work.
Slow down. If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, AAA recommends slowing down and releasing your foot from the brake before impact. This will raise the front end of the car during the crash and increase the likelihood that the animal will go underneath the vehicle instead of through the windshield.