Fall is upon us and for Virginia that invariably means a lot of Deer collisions. As the fall begins, the deer start roaming more and more and can often be found on the roadways. Like every year the residents have to be vary of these collisions.
According to the 18th annual deer-vehicle collision study released by State Farm earlier this week, drivers in the United States have a 1/116 chance of colliding with a deer or another animal. However, that risk is higher for Virginia with a likelihood of 1/92 of colliding with an animal on the road. According to the data from State Farms insurance records, 67% of all the collisions from July 1 2019 to June 30th 2020 involved deer. Meanwhile West Virginia remained the most likely state for deer collisions(1/37) and California the least likely(1/642).
Virginia ranked 12th on the list with most collisions occurring from October through December.
According to 2019 crash data provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia saw an 11% increase in deer crashes and a 16% increase in injuries compared to 2018.
A total of 6,523 crashes involved deer collisions, with the majority (53%) of incidents (3,477) happening in the last three months of the year.
The State Farm release also reflects on the impact of Covid-19 on the animal collisions. Owing to fewer drivers on the road there has been a 20 percent decrease in collisions.
The data from 2019 showed Loudoun county to be top of the list for such collisions with most incidents occurring in November. Loudoun County with 317 deer-related crashes is followed by Fauquier County and Montgomery County with 254 and 214 collisions respectively.
We are now in the deer mating season which is traditionally a higher risk period for deer vs vehicle collisions. Approximately half or more of all deer-vehicle accidents occur in this period. The peak of which starts from the end of October. Even though there will be less traffic on the roads this fall, caution is important to avoid any potential hazard of deer collisions. Some of the prevention measures can be
- Driving at a speed that allows you to pull the brakes in time if an animal comes in your way.
- Constantly lookout for any stray animals and avoid sudden change of lanes.
- Be extra cautious from Dusk to Dawn as these are high risk times for deer related accidents.
- Last but not the least, always wear a seatbelt to ensure safety.
In case of the unfortunate event of a collision, the American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following steps
- Call the police
- Avoid the animal you collide with, as a wounded animal can hurt you or itself
- Put the Vehicle’s hazard lights on
- Move the vehicle to a safe location out of the roadway
- Contact your insurance agent
Fall is a time for a lot of fun activities in Virginia. However, it’s important to stay cautious of the increasing rate of deer crashes. Drive safely, keep yourself and the Virginia deer safe.
John is a local news reporter for the Virginia Herald. His coverage area is statewide with a focus on NOVA and Richmond area news.
To contact John with a story please email: firstname.lastname@example.org