March - When Bumpers Meet Antlers
When Bumpers Meet Antlers
During the Holidays, between Jackson and the Winona exit on I-55, there were six or seven deer on the shoulders of the road that had been hit by vehicles. Depleting the deer population in this manner is bad enough, but the other possibility is that someone's vehicle was damaged, or someone was injured. Obviously, their instincts don't tell them to stay off the shoulders or to look both ways before crossing.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that each year there are about 700,000 animal-vehicle collisions that result in approximately 1.2 billion dollars in damages. The National Safety Council states that each year about 120 people die and another 10,000 are injured in these accidents. Typically in these accidents there are about $2,000 worth of damages, but have been as high as $10,000. Damage to vehicles usually involves the grill, bumper, headlights, fenders and sometimes the windshield.
Animal--vehicle accidents can happen at anytime of the year, but they typically happen in the fall. Especially deer-vehicle accidents because of the oncoming mating and deer season, which makes them, roam more out of their natural territory.
There is no foolproof method that has been found to prevent deer, and in the Northwest USA, moose and elk, from getting into vehicles. Some folks believe that deer whistles have helped them to avoid collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says there is no scientific evidence to prove that they prevent deer from approaching cars or reduce the risk.
Another approach that has met with some success is to install roadside reflectors that reflect the light from vehicle headlights, which causes the deer to "freeze" rather than cross the road. Some studies and field tests have been made that shows the frequency of crashes has been reduced to some extent.
TIPS FOR AVOIDING UNPLANNED MEETINGS WITH DEER
- Stay focused on your surroundings, watching left and right and distantly in front of you.
- At night, use high beam lights to illuminate the sides of the road, being especially careful around woods and water. If you spot one deer, there are probably others close by.
- Take extra precaution at sunrise and sunset when they are out feeding on the green shoots on the shoulders of the road.
- If you see a deer on the shoulder or in the roadway and you have time to avoid hitting it, reduce your speed, tap on your brakes to warn possible oncoming vehicles and blow your horn.
- Deer tend to fixate on headlights, so don't blink or flash them. It may cause the animal to move. If there are no following vehicles, brake hard.
- If it looks like contact with the deer can't be avoided, don't try to swerve to miss it. Try to maintain control of your vehicle and hit it. Call the police and report the accident.
- STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANIES REMINDS US TO ALWAYS OBEY THE SPEED LIMITS AND WEAR SAFETY BELTS.
DEFENSIVE DRIVING REDUCES
THE OPPORTUNITY FOR
AND ACCIDENT OR
Attention enhances prevention!
Excerpts: State Farm Insurance, Safety Link
Statistics: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), National Safety Council
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.