Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

September 29, 2013

Be aware of deer

Attention, motorists: Indiana’s big game animals mate and migrate between October and December. Deer-related traffic accidents will become more frequent.

Five years ago, Howard County sheriff deputies reported two motorcycle collisions with deer in the first two weeks of October. Those accidents injured three people.

“Motorcyclists operating after sunset need to use extreme caution,” then-Sheriff Marty Talbert said at the time. “In both of these cases, the cyclist had little, if any, time to react. Motorcyclists should reduce their speed after sunset, use their bright headlight when possible, and protect themselves by wearing a helmet and adequate motorcycle attire.”

That’s good advice. State Farm Insurance offers some of its own. Hoosier drivers can avoid involvement in deer-related accidents between now and December by taking a few precautions:

• Be aware of posted deer-crossing signs. These signs are placed in known deer-crossing areas.

• Be aware that deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

• Use high-beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate roadsides where deer can linger.

• Be aware that deer often move in packs. If you see one, there is a good chance several more are just a few yards behind.

• Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles. Studies show deer are not affected by these devices, State Farm says.

• If a collision with a deer seems inevitable and you’re driving a car or truck, it might be best not to swerve. The risk of personal injury is greatly increased by swerving, which could place you in the path of oncoming vehicles or might cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

There are an estimated 1.23 million deer-related accidents in the U.S. each year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These accidents annually cause nearly 200 deaths and $4 billion in vehicle damage.

Defensive driving can pay off during deer season. It can save you an average $3,305 in damage to your car or truck, and it could save your life.

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