Virginia Drivers at Risk for Deer Collisions

Picture this: You’re driving along early in the morning or evening, coasting by lush Virginian forestry and enjoying the cool breeze. Then, out of nowhere, a deer leaps in front of your car. What do you do?

Too often, the answer is swerve out of the way, braking at the last moment. Deer in the road cause accidents like this across the country, especially in the fall and early winter months. Virginia is actually ranked 10th in the nation for deer collisions. On average, Americans have a 1 in 169 chance of hitting a deer on the road. Virginians run a much greater risk – 1 in just 97. Thankfully, this number has gone up in recent years. Just two years ago, the odds for Commonwealth citizens was 1 in 88, the Southwest Times reports.

Besides being incredibly dangerous, accidents involving deer are typically very expensive. Though we’re seeing an overall downward trend in the number of these crashes, the cost per insurance claim for deer collisions has risen to more than $4,000. Most of the accidents happen in October, November and December, which make up deer mating and migrating season.

So what should you do if you spot a deer in the road? Slow down, but don’t swerve. It’s too easy to lose control of your vehicle this way. Instead, keep steering straight and brake firmly. Even if the deer has run off safely, pause, as there will likely be more deer following behind the first. On rural roads with deer crossing signs, consider using your high beams to spot the animals in low visibility times of day.