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Be wary of deer

October 9, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Deer collisions for West Virginia drivers continue to rank near the top of the state-by-state list. Insurance agencies, last year, estimated a West Virginia driver has a 1 in 53 chance of striking a deer during the year. The odds in Ohio were 1 in 131.

Insurance industry experts estimate a deer crash costs an average of about $3,100 in repairs.

Deer are beginning to get active with approaching mating season and will be foraging for food for the winter months.

Drivers need to be alert for deer, especially at dawn and after sunset. These are 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 usually 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. Law enforcement officials note 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 the highway patrol or local police. Don't approach the deer if it is still in the road.

The mild winter last year probably means the deer population increased, and that is not good news for area drivers.

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