Steadily rising numbers in Kansas vehicle accidents involving deer have prompted a need for constant defensive driving this fall, according to Sandy Praeger, Commissioner of Insurance.
More than 200 additional deer-vehicle accidents occurred on Kansas roads during 2007 than in 2006, according to statistics from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The total for all deer
accidents during the year was 9,417, compared to 9,197 in 2006.
Those 2007 accidents resulted in the deaths of five people and injuries to 298; those are also higher numbers than the year before.
Statistically, one in every 100 drivers nationally is likely to have a collision with a deer at some time during their driving years. Mid-fall and mid-spring are likely times of the year for deer to be
seen on roadways, because of breeding habits during the fall and growth of vegetation during the spring.
Praeger urges motorists to check with their insurance agents to find out the type of vehicle accident damage coverage their policies have. Then, if a deer accident occurs, a policyholder should contact his or her insurance agent or company quickly to begin the claims process.
“With the cost of repairs climbing every year, Kansans are smart consumers when they review their vehicle coverages on a regular basis,” Commissioner Praeger said.
To help avoid deer-vehicle collisions, Commissioner Praeger suggests the following:
Stay alert, always wear your seat belt and drive at a safe, sensible speed for conditions.
Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road.
Do not rely exclusively on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer.
When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no opposing traffic. The high beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway.
Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious accidents occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit other vehicles or lose control of their cars. Potentially, you will risk less injury by hitting the deer.
If the deer stays on the road, stop on the shoulder, put on your hazard lights and wait for the deer to leave the roadway; do not try to go around the deer while it is on the road.
If you do hit a deer and are uncertain whether the animal is dead, keep your distance. You are dealing with an injured, wild animal with sharp hooves that can inflict serious bodily injury.
If the deer is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other motorists, you should immediately report the incident to the local law enforcement agency.
Source: Kansas Department of Insurance
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