AAA Carolinas is warning drivers to be extra alert this Thanksgiving season as a record number of drivers are hitting the road during the height of the “rut” season for deer.
During this time of the year, it’s common for deer to lose their cautious mannerisms in their pursuit of mates, according to AAA’s press release.
North Carolina saw a total of 17,901 crashes reported from colliding with a deer in 2016 – crashes in October and December accounted for 47.5% of the total, according to NCDOT.
“The fall is a big season for the deer population in North and South Carolina,” said AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety President Tiffany Wright. “With deer more apt to be on or around the roads, motorists need to be extra vigilant when driving. Visually make a continuous sweep of the road and give yourself room between other cars.”
Here are some ways to ensure a safe trip during this deer season:
- Be especially attentive in the early morning and evening hours as many animals (namely deer) are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. – prime commuting times for most drivers.
- Install a deer whistle on the front of your car – they produce a high-frequency sound that only deer can hear.
- Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic – your lights will often reflect off the animal’s eyes and reveal their location.
- Watch for water on the side of the road as it often attracts deer.
- If you spot a deer, slow down and watch for other deer to appear – as they rarely travel alone.
- As you slow down, blast your horn to frighten the animal away from the road.
- Brake firmly. Do not swerve or leave your lane as many crashes from deer are a result of hitting other cars
- Check with your insurance agent to make sure you have comprehensive coverage that includes animal collision.
In the event of a collision with an animal:
- Avoid making contact with the deer as a frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself.
- Put your vehicle’s hazard lights on whether it is light or dark out.
- If possible, move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the road, as you wait for help to arrive.
- For insurance purposes, call your local law enforcement or highway patrol.
- To report an injured deer in North Carolina call the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Enforcement Division at (800)-662-7137. To report an injured deer in South Carolina call the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources office at (803) 734-3886 to locate a rehabilitator near you.
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