Autumn arrives Thursday, along with the most dangerous time of the year for car-deer collisions. A new study shows such accidents are becoming more frequent in Nebraska.
Holly Anderson, spokeswoman for the state’s largest auto insurer, State Farm, says the odds a driver will hit a deer in Nebraska are one in 132, versus the national odds of one in 164. It’s expensive, too.
“The national cost per claim average is just under $4,000 and that is down slightly from last year,” Anderson says. “That could be from a number of factors. It could be people are hitting deer in different ways. They may be hitting the door instead of the engine.”
From June of last year through July of this year, there were more than 10,500 deer-vehicle collisions in Nebraska. That’s almost 900 more than in the previous year. Nebraska has moved up from 25th to 21st in the national rankings for such accidents.
Deer are always a risk for motorists, but we’re heading into the worst season for collisions.
“The months that a driver is more likely to collide with a deer are: November, October and December,” Anderson says. “We know that dawn and dusk are high deer traffic times, especially if you’re driving near water or woods, so we really want drivers to be on the lookout during those times.”
She suggests employing the policy of “Drive 2 and 2,” for two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel. Also, remember the phrase, “Don’t Veer for Deer.”
“If you think you’re going to come in contact with a deer, it’s better to just push your brakes,” Anderson says. “A lot of times we see people do swerve and when you’re in that situation, there could be a tree on that side, there could be oncoming traffic coming your way. You don’t want to swerve. Make sure you’re not veering off to avoid the animal. Make sure you’re pushing your brakes instead.”
West Virginia tops the list of states where a deer collision is most likely for the tenth year in a row, followed by Montana, Pennsylvania, Iowa and South Dakota.