AAA Carolinas warns of heavier deer presence on roads



With deer more active this time of year, AAA Carolinas is urging motorists to take precaution to avoid collisions. Mid-October through mid-November is the typical mating season for deer according to a news release from AAA Carolinas. This, coupled with the loss of daylight during most commutes, makes October, November and December the worst months of the year for motor vehicle collisions with animals. In addition to being a danger, hitting a deer can be expensive. Last year, the average deer-related claim in the Carolinas totaled $2,500 in damage.

In the most recent data provided by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, S.C. reported 2,460 crashes with animals in 2017. In North Carolina in 2018, there were 17,895 crashes reported from collisions with an animal (of which, 90% are assumed to be deer) with the months of October through December accounting for 49.5 percent of those crashes, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

"A collision with a deer can be devastating, endangering the passengers, the vehicle and the deer," Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokeswoman, said in the release. "This fall, we urge motorists to always scan the sides of roads for animals, including deer and to be extra vigilant during this time."

AAA Carolinas encourages motorists to adhere to the following tips this deer season:

- Be especially attentive in the early morning and evening hours as many animals (especially deer) are most active from 5 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. - prime commuting times for most drivers;

- Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic - your lights will often reflect off the animal's eyes and reveal their location;

- Watch for water on the side of the road as it often attracts deer;

- If you spot a deer, slow down and watch for other deer to appear - as they rarely travel alone;

- As you slow down, blast your horn to frighten the animal away from the road;

- Brake firmly. Do not swerve or leave your lane as many crashes from deer are a result of hitting other cars; and

- Check with your insurance agent to make sure you have comprehensive coverage that includes animal collision.

In the event of a collision with a deer:

- Avoid making contact with the deer as a frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself;

- Put your vehicle's hazard lights on whether it is light or dark out;

- If possible, move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the road, as you wait for help to arrive;

- For insurance purposes, call your local law enforcement or highway patrol;

- To report an injured deer in South Carolina call the SCDNR office at (803) 734-3886 to locate a rehabilitator near you. To report an injured deer in North Carolina call the NCDNR's Wildlife Enforcement Division at (800) 662-7137.

- When in South Carolina, vehicle-deer crashes should be reported to the S.C. Department of Transportation. When in North Carolina, vehicle-deer crashes should be reported to the N.C. Department of Transportation.