More collisions between cars and deer occur, according to insurance company studies, during the month of November than any other month throughout the year. In North America, mating season for deer spans a period from late October through early December, and November marks the peak for increased activity and movement for the animals.
Compared to other regions in the county, Oregon actually ranks low among states for risk of deer collisions. West Virginia, Iowa, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are among the states with the highest incidents of deer and vehicle collisions.
Car accidents involving collisions with deer can be deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that on average 200 Americans are killed each year in car accidents with deer. Another 10,000 are injured resulting in an estimated $1 billion in property damage to vehicles.
In Indiana, a few days before Halloween (2011), seven of the ten occupants of a minivan, members of an extended family, were killed when their vehicle struck a deer and was then hit by a semi truck traveling an estimated 65 mph. The minivan slowed or stopped after hitting a deer and the semi-trailer/ big rig struck them catastrophically from behind. The tragedy took the lives of 3 adults and 4 children, one of them a six-week-old infant. Three other occupants survived.
Often serious injuries from car accidents involving deer collisions are caused when the struck deer travels up the hood of a car through the windshield and into the passenger compartment. Some analysts argue that when the impact with a deer is inevitable motorists should resist the urge to slam on the brakes because this can cause the front end of the vehicle to dip dramatically and may increase the chances that the animal will end up through the windshield. Not braking, on the other hand, may instead result in the animal being pushed under the vehicle.
As always, the best preventative policy is to remain alert while driving, keeping your eyes on the road, scanning the road ahead, and keeping a constant lookout.