RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Decreasing amounts of wooded areas and increasing number of drivers are combining to boost the numbers of accidents involving deer in North Carolina.
North Carolina Department of Transportation said for the 11th consecutive year, the worst area for those kinds of accidents is Wake County, which recorded over 1,100 deer collisions.
As darkness falls earlier and earlier, drivers have to be more aware of deer on the roads.
“Dawn and dusk is when they’re traveling and a roadway is an easy pathway instead of bushwhacking through the woods,” said NCDOT’s Steve Abbott.
Remember deer travel in herds.
When you see one – it’s probably not alone.
“It’s the begriming of mating season, so they’re on the move a lot more,” said Abbott.
And deer collisions are a serious problem.
Last year, the NCDOT said 14 people died in collisions with deer and other animals across North Carolina.
“They cause fatalities, serious injuries and well over 100-million in property damage,” says Abbott.
Abbot said if a deer collision is unavoidable – you shouldn’t swerve.
“It sounds cruel but plow through. You may hit the deer, but it’s better than swerving and losing control, flipping over or going into the woods or oversteering and putting yourself in the opposite lane and hitting another car,” said Abbott.
After a deer collision, you should:
- Move vehicle to a safe place and turn on your hazard lights.
- Alert police if the deer is blocking traffic and creating a threat for other drivers.
- Document the incident with photographs and get witness statements
- Stay away from a wounded deer. It could use harm you.
This time of year auto body shops see a lot of deer collision body work.
“Even though it’s a small animal it has the potential to cause a lot of damage,” says Natashia Fantasia of Coats Auto Body in Raleigh.
If you had an accident involving a deer, don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Check it carefully.
“There could be pieces missing, falling off, headlights broken, windows broken,” says Fantasia. “That would make the car unsafe to drive.”
Dig deeper into deer collisions. Use this link to look at county by county breakdowns of deer collisions as well as other data related to animal crashes.