INDIANAPOLIS — Each year in Indiana, several thousand dollars of damage occurs from vehicle-deer crashes. In many cases motorists can be severely injured or killed when drivers panic and swerve to miss a deer, and then lose control of their vehicle and crash.
The Indiana State Police are warning drivers as deer crossings become more prevalent in the fall months.
Last year in the state of Indiana there were over 15,000 accidents involving deer. Out of those accidents, there were 366 with injuries and two fatalities.
Tips to avoid a collision with a deer this year (courtesy of Indiana State Police):
• Be cautious while driving during dusk or dawn hours
Deer are most active at dawn and dusk but can appear at any time, especially during the mating season, which is in full swing from October through December. Please remember though that deer can appear at any time. Ensure that you and your passengers are always wearing seat belts, in case you need to make a sudden stop.
• Pay attention to deer crossing signs
Be alert and observe your surroundings for any signs of deer while on the road. Deer are abundant in forested areas, so it’s important to drive cautiously even if you’re no longer in a deer-crossing zone.
• Stay alert if you spot a deer
Deer tend to travel in packs so if you see one deer, slow down and proceed with caution, be prepared for more to follow. If you see a deer, slow down, tap your brakes to warn others, or flash your lights and sound your horn to warn other motorists. It will give everyone an opportunity to slow down.
• Take precautions when driving at night
If there is no oncoming traffic, turn on your bright lights. You’ll not only be able to see clearer, but you’ll have a greater chance of spotting a deer from a distance and allow you to react accordingly.
Drivers should watch approaching vehicles to see if what interrupts the beams of their headlights could be a passing deer. This technique allows extra time to slow your speed and be alert for the deer.
Remember when looking for deer on the side of the road, look for the reflection of the deer's eyes caused by the headlights.
• Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer
Do not swerve to avoid a deer collision. By swerving you put yourself at risk for a worse collision with another motorist or running off the roadway. Brake firmly and stay in your lane.
• Report the deer-vehicle collision
If your vehicle strikes a deer do not touch it. A frightened or wounded deer can cause you serious bodily injury. Remain in your car, make sure you and your passengers are safe, and call the police to obtain a crash report for your insurance company. You must report this as you would any other crash.
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