Fairytales taught us that deer are sweet and harmless. While they often are, an unusual number of injuries and fatalities involve them. If you live within or nearby an open woodland, it is common to come across this wildlife on the road. Unfortunately, some encounters with deer lead to car accidents.
Deer-caused crashes in numbers
In 2020, there were approximately 6,500 motor vehicle accidents involving deer in Tennessee, resulting in 362 injuries and one fatality. Additionally, damages involving deer-car accidents amounted to $90 million.
Moreover, about half of the deer crashes in the state occurred between the months of October and December. During this season, there is increased deer activity and motorists may spot them on the side or middle of the road. When it comes to time, this wildlife is often active early in the morning and at dusk when it might be more challenging for motorists to quickly see them and safely navigate the vehicle.
Coincidentally, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are around the same period and thousands of drivers are on the road to visit their families or simply to run to the grocery for ingredients. Since there are more people on the road than usual, more people are susceptible to deer collisions during the BER months.
Never veer for a deer
While it is a fight or flight response to avoid whatever is in front of you on the road, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency actually asks motorists not to veer for a deer. If you do, you can lose control of your vehicle and swerve into oncoming traffic or strike a roadside object which may make the accident worse.
No one can predict deer activity, so drivers need to exercise caution and remain alert on the road, especially if they see them in the vicinity. Additionally, drivers – no matter the time of day – should take posted roadside signs warning of deer activity seriously.