Well, it’s the time of the year when more and more deer are out and about on Maryland’s rural and county roads. As a Maryland auto accident lawyer, I know that this time of year drivers must be ever vigilant when it comes to bucks and does frolicking near the roadside.
Hitting an animal as large as a full-grown deer can cause a great deal of damage to a passenger car; such can and truck crashes are certainly sad for the animal, but can be extremely dangerous for the driver and passengers of a car or light truck. While many deer hits only result in property damage, the risk still exists for consequential damage or bodily injury, especially if the driver loses control of the vehicle and hits another object such as a tree or roadside guardrail.
In such collisions, one can expect injuries ranging from simple bruises and minor cuts to even more serious bodily harm like head trauma or spinal fracture, not to mention back internal injuries.
Rare yet potential serious accidents, such as rollovers and multiple-car collisions can also be caused by a driver either striking the deer or swerving to avoid the animal. As evening comes earlier every day as we approach the winter season, seeing a deer in the dark with just your headlights to illuminate a more or less camouflaged animal only complicates matters.
According to a recent news article, the mating season for deer coincides with the highest rate of motor vehicle-deer collisions. And that rate can be quite surprising. Based on data from State Farm Insurance, there were more than two million deer-related auto accidents in 2009 across the U.S.
Also interesting is the fact that nearly half of all the crashes happen between October and December. Most of these collisions are likely to occur on two-lane roads between dawn and dusk. Based on what is known about the frequency, condition and opportunity for car-deer crashes, the following tips (from the Battle Creek Enquirer) may be helpful:
1) Stay alert especially from dawn and dusk
2) Watch for deer along the side of the road
3) Whenever you see one deer, expect two or more to follow
4) Don’t expect that flashing your headlights or honking the horn will stop deer from crossing the roadway
5) Don’t swerve to avoid a deer. Instead, brake firmly and grip the steering wheel tightly
6) After a crash, pull off the road when possible; don’t approach the animal as it may not be dead; call the police immediately
Deer Season–And Car Crash Time–Is Here, TheCarConnection.com, October 4th, 2010