Deer Breeding Season, or "the rut", in NE Ohio typically runs from the middle of September through December. Please read the following tips to help reduce any accidents with our four legged woodland friends:
* Deer especially like to travel as the daylight is very low (1 hour after/before dusk/dawn) and in the darkness of night.
* They also tend to travel in herds, so if you see one deer, be sure to reduce your speed and be on the lookout for more.
* A deer has great mobility and on-a-dime turning ability. Just because a deer is in another lane or already across the road, don't think it can't be back in front of your vehicle in a heartbeat.
A Deer in Headlights
A very common phrase in our culture - But why? According to a NY Times Science Q&A article - deer are born to travel in darkness (see point 1 above); their eyes are genetically inclined to become fully dilated so as to take in as much light as possible in the darkness (think night-vision goggles). So when the headlights of your vehicle shine in their eyes, they literally become blinded. Since they can no longer see, they freeze out of instinct.
In certain situations, there is nothing you can do - an impact is unavoidable. Regardless of your skill (or compassion) level, it is usually better to make a hard brake and make impact with the animal, in order to come to a controlled stop, rather than attempting to swerve at speed/in a skid. Several fatal accidents per year are due to vehicles leaving the roadway and becoming overturned, or colliding with something much harder than an animal (trees, guard rails, etc).
In the insurance business - damage to your vehicle caused by impact with a deer (or other animal) is covered under your Comprehensive (Other Than Collision) Coverage. Usually this includes a deductible. However, to the point in the section above, if you were to swerve and come into contact with a poll or tree, that would then be covered under your Collision Coverage (also subject to a deductible in most policies). We always recommend that you at least carry Comprehensive coverage along with your liability in this part of the world, due to the number of accidents per year involving deer.
Roughly 200 people, per year, die from deer related vehicle accidents.
Always be safe on the roads during the rut, and hunting seasons, when deer are most active.
Paying attention to the roadway, sides of the road, and maintaining a safe speed in heavily deer populated areas could save your life.