When it comes to car vs. deer collisions, South Carolina drivers have a 1 in 93 chance of hitting a deer over the next 12 months. According to a report from another insurance agency, using statistics obtained in 2012, this ranks the state tenth-highest among all fifty states. By comparison, drivers in the Aloha state, Hawaii, don’t have much to worry about hitting a deer with a more than 10,200-to-1 chance.
Nationwide, car-deer collisions cause nearly 200 deaths and over $4 billion dollars annually in losses with October through December being the deadliest months.
According to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Deer and Turkey program coordinator Charles Ruth, the deer population estimates are down in the state compared to their peak levels of the late 1990’s. However, the problem of deer-vehicle collisions still exists at high levels in states such as South Carolina and West Virginia, which topped the list at 1 in 39 odds.
Much of this dangerous trend is attributed to a combination of the growing deer population and the encroachment of urban sprawl upon rural environments. With a reduction of available space for deer to safely migrate in search of food and water, the higher the likelihood of a collision, according to researchers.
Hitting a deer at high speed is by no means an inexpensive endeavor. In fact, depending on the type of vehicle you drive, the claim as a result of a deer involved collision, according to the State Farm report, was approximately $3,888 in 2014. That was in increase of almost 14 percent over claims filed in 2013. Factor in moderate to severe bodily injuries to the driver and/or passengers and that amount jumps substantially.
But, there are some defensive driving safeguards you can follow when traveling on South Carolina’s rural roads to avoid hitting a deer, including:
- Use extra caution from sunset to midnight as well as the hours shortly before and after sunrise. You stand the highest risk of having a deer-vehicle collision during these times.
- Drive carefully when entering deer-crossing zones, generally marked by signs. Also beware of areas known for having a large deer population and on roads that run between agricultural areas and forestland. An important fact to remember is: deer rarely roam these areas alone. One deer usually means others are nearby.
- If you have to drive at night, use your high beams when there is no oncoming traffic approaching. High beams tend to better illuminate the deer’s eyes, making them more visible
- Should a deer be on the road, slow down and blow your horn in a single long blast. This will normally frighten the deer to clear the road.
- If you notice a deer on or near the road and feel you have to stop, brake firmly, and maintain your lane as much as possible, without swerving. More often than not, drivers cause serious crashes by swerving, which can result in hitting another vehicle or losing control and rolling your own vehicle
- For obvious reasons, always buckle up. Statistics show that most people injured in car vs. deer accidents were not wearing their seat belt.
In the event you do strike a deer, don’t touch it, even to render aid. When frightened or wounded, a deer can hurt you seriously or inflict further injury to itself. Instead, pull off to the side of the road, if possible. Then, call the police and your car insurance agent or representative.
If you only have the state mandated minimum auto insurance coverage, no matter how badly your vehicle is damaged, repairs will come out of your pocket. On the other hand, should you also have collision and comprehensive insurance, the damage from hitting a deer will be covered by the comprehensive portion of your policy.
So, if you’re looking for low cost auto insurance to protect your vehicle, why not get a free South Carolina auto insurance quote today?