But a white-tail's biological imperative often leads to them locking horns with other deer -- and as their numbers increase, more and more frequently with automobiles too.
The top five is rounded out by
Over the past weekend alone motorists reported seven accidents involving deer to the
In addition to the risk,
According to the
The best way to avoid having a deer ruin your day is slowing down, especially in areas known to have heavy deer populations. Slower speeds mean more time to react by braking the car.
Drivers also have less peripheral vision at higher speeds, which means they may not see the deer on the side of the road.
"Always remember deer are wildlife and therefore unpredictable," the
Deer are most active in the early morning and late evening -- the time when many drivers are commuting to and from work, the agency said.
Insurance companies and law enforcement urge drivers not to swerve when they spot a deer in the roadway, as it can increase the chances of traveling off the roadway or a collision with another car. Deer also may try to avoid the car, putting it back in front of a swerving car. Braking as much as possible without losing control is considered the safest action.
Motorists should make sure to document deer collisions by reporting the accident to police and if possible take photos that provide evidence that the accident was caused by a deer. That can mean the difference between an insurance company letting the customer file under comprehensive coverage and not under collision, which generally means a higher deductible and can leave a black mark on the driver's insurance record and lead to higher premiums.
Another reason not to swerve is that drivers who go off the roadway and hit a tree or overturn forfeit comprehensive coverage, even if the action was due to a deer in the roadway.
Deer are not the only heightened danger motorists face this time of year. During the holiday season more impaired drivers also will be on the state's roadways.
Drivers who do a little too much partying before getting behind the wheel may not realize their level of impairment, said
"Most people are impaired on alcohol a long time before they realize they're impaired," he said. "Doing the things they need to do to drive safely -- watching their speed, and watching for stop signs and traffic signals -- it becomes harder to do that."
Marijuana has much the same effect, he said, making it more difficult to concentrate on the multiple tasks required to drive safely.
"People don't realize they're impaired with both alcohol and marijuana," Leigh said. "My best advice to give to anybody is don't drink (or smoke weed) and drive."
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