Car vs Deer Accidents Increase in the Fall

November is the most dangerous month for car accidents involving deer.

Portland Injury Litigation Law Firm Angel Law, P.C. first posted this safety reminder last November. With November upon us again it's a good idea to revisit this seasonal driving concern.

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. This time of year deer are less timid and more likely to find themselves in the middle of a roadway.

Compared to other regions in the county, however, Oregon doesn't rank as high as some among states for risk of deer collisions. West Virginia, Iowa, South Dakota, Michigan and Pennsylvania 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 last year, 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. Deer in roadways pose a serious risk for drivers, especially at night.

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. States are generally very good about posting waring signs where deer activity is a risk. Make sure you register the risk when you see a deer crossing sign while driving.