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September 30, 2009

Fall Driving Hazard: Deer Crashes

Deercrossing

Sure, seeing wildlife is exciting, and deer can be pretty darn cute. But come fall and spring, they're dangerous in areas where they and cars are both prevalent - in fact, they occur most frequently in highly populated and suburban areas. Crashing into one can result in fatalities, but will definitely be costly in vehicle repairs (or insurance premiums). In the Midwest United States, there are an estimated 23 deaths and 131,500 crashes a year. If you live in an area where deer are populous, or are travelling to one, heed this advice:

Fall is deer mating season, so watch out for them especially at dusk and dawn. If you see one along the side of the road, keep in mind that a vehicle may cause them to panic and dart out, so slow down and wait to be sure they're not going to try and cross the road. If there's one, chances are there are a few more deer waiting to follow in single file. If a crash is unavoidable, don't swerve - come to a controlled stop, and then get as far off the roadway as possible. Losing control of the car is much more dangerous than an encounter with a deer, though at high speeds both are risky. When you see a deer crossing sign, drive a bit slower to increase reaction time - and watch out for eyes alongside the road.

For more advice from RTM, visit our Auto Safety section.

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