Drivers Beware of Deer Season

It’s deer season, as hunters across America already know. Motorists should be extra vigilant in watching for Bambi while on the road in October through December or they, too could inadvertently wind up with a deer head to mount —and an unwanted increase in their auto insurance rates.

According to statistics recently released by national insurance company State Farm, November sees the highest amount of deer-vehicle collisions. Over 18% of those types of accidents occur in that month, followed by October, then December.

State Farm’s study also revealed that the number of deer hit on the road by motorists in the United States during the 12 month period that ended on June 30 amounted to 1.09 million. Those accidents yielded damages in the $3.5 billion range. Aside from property damage, car crashed involving a deer can often result in the injury or even death of the driver and his passengers.

In the country of Sweden, home of auto maker Volvo, such incidents can be even more perilous because the animal involved is a moose rather than a deer.

The automobile manufacturer offers a feature known as “City Safety,” which can automatically bring a car to a complete stop in order to avoid an accident. Currently in the works is a variation of that high-tech system. It would be designed to spot animal on the side of the road and potentially avoid collisions.

City Safety was created to cut down on accidents with other vehicles and pedestrians on city streets. Using an infrared laser sensor which is attached to an automobile’s windshield in order to monitor traffic, City Safety can anticipate an impact with another vehicle or with a pedestrian and bring the car to a halt. Approximately 35,000 Americans lose their lives in roadway accidents every year.

While Volvo hopes to use similar technology to cut down on the amount of animal bodies that blanket the roads every year, it’s difficult to predict animal behaviour—especially when creatures might jump out from the vegetation along the side of the road. However, a recent analysis of insurance claims made by the Highway Loss Data Institute discovered that Volvo’s City Safe system, specifically, caused a 27% reduction in the amount of vehicle damage claims made as a result of car-to-car collisions. Additionally, insurance claims involving bodily injuries dipped 51% with vehicles that were equipped the City Safety technology.

“This is our first real-world look at an advanced crash avoidance technology, and the findings are encouraging,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, as reported by msn.com.

In the meantime, drivers can reduce some of the chances of colliding with a deer when driving by:

  • Always using driving with high beams on to increase visibility when no oncoming traffic is present.
  • Exercising extreme caution during dusk and dawn, the times of day when deer are the most active.
  • Being extra alert if one deer is spotted, as it is highly likely more are in the immediate area—deer travel in groups.
  • Braking—but not swerving—should a deer pop up in the path of a car on the road.

Should an impact with a deer occur, the driver and all passengers should remain inside the vehicle and not attempt to remove an injured animal from the road. An injured deer is likely terrified and may thrash violently with its body and hooves and potentially cause serious injury to humans nearby.

Typically, a deer-automobile collision is covered by the comprehensive portion of an automobile insurance policy. All

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