Oh, deer. State transportation cabinet officials are warning drivers to be on the lookout for the animals along Kentucky roadways as both the fall mating season and deer-vehicle collision season have officially commenced.
Increased field activity by farmers as they harvest crops also puts deer on the move, which could make them more likely to come into the path of passing vehicles.
In the Bluegrass State, the odds of a driver being involved in a collision with a deer is about 1 out of 107. However, those numbers double during October, November and December.
Kentucky ranks 15th in the country for deer-involved crashes and, according to statistics from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, more than 3,000 such accidents were reported last year, down from 2017 when there were more than 3,200. In fact, deer cause more than 100 injury crashes and are to blame for about three highway deaths in the state each year.
Even though many motorists are fortunate enough not to pay for deer collisions with their lives, the price of vehicle repairs can be costly. State Farm estimates that the average deer strike car insurance claim is approximately $4,341.
To avoid becoming a statistic, officials offer the following tips:
• Slow down immediately when you spot a deer, as they tend to travel in groups.
• Don’t swerve to avoid a deer; it can lead to a more serious accident with oncoming traffic or a roadside object.
• In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and apply the brakes steadily until stopped.
• Report all deer-vehicle collisions to the police so locations and crash numbers can be recorded. Traffic engineers use the data to aid in placement of deer crossing warning signs.
• Always wear a seat belt.
• Keep headlights on bright unless other vehicles are approaching.
• Drive defensively, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are more active.