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Be alert this deer season

Drivers need to be careful this time of the year to avoid deer crashes.

But the odds are against you if you are driving in the Tri-State Area.

The odds of a Mountain State resident having an insurance claim because of a deer or animal collision is 1 in 37. In Pennsylvania, it is 1 in 51 and 1 in 102 in Ohio. West Virginia leads the country for the 14th year in a row in odds of a deer or animal crash, according to the annual report compiled by State Farm insurance. Pennsylvania remains third.

October, November and December are the worst months for deer crashes because of the mating season. Overall, drivers in the U.S. have a 1 in 116 chance of colliding with an animal. For the period running from July 1, 2019, through June 30, there were more than 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims –with 1.5 million of those claims involving deer.

Officials with Ohio State Highway Patrol reported that in 2019, there were 19,375 deer-related crashes in the state. Four people died as a result of injuies suffered in those crashes and 966 people were injured. The OSHP added46 percent of those crashes happened in October, November and December.

And, the Pennsyvania State Police reported that of 4,576 crashes involving animals in 2019, 4,346 involved deer.

Drivers need to be alert for deer especially at dawn and after sunset, the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.

Drive with extreme caution when traveling through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from wooded areas.

Deer at this time of the year seldom run alone. Seeing one deer most likely means there are others nearby. If a deer crosses the road in front of your vehicle, chances are another will try to follow

When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer standing on or near the roadway.

If a deer is seen on or near the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to try to scare the deer away.

Don’t swerve your vehicle to avoid striking a deer.

It is actually better to hit the deer while maintaining full control of the vehicle than to try swerve out of the way. The Ohio State Highway Patrol notes more people are injured in wrecks because the driver tried to avoid the deer and ended up hitting another vehicle or going off the road into a ditch or a tree.

If you are involved in a deer crash, pull off to the side of the road and call law enforcement. Don’t approach the deer if it is still in the road.

Be alert during deer season.

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