Blogs and Stories
December 17, 2020
Amy Wade Carotenuto

Killer Deer

As an animal lover, it breaks my heart when I see a dead deer on the side of the road. They are such beautiful creatures. This is the time of year when most deer/vehicle collisions occur. It’s migration and mating season and deer habitats are being displaced by development. So we see more deer than ever on our roads.

According to State Farm Insurance, nearly 2 million animal/vehicle collision claims are filed annually. Of those, the majority that include injuries to people in the vehicle are accidents in which deer are struck at night. The average collision with a deer costs the car owner over $3,000 and cost isn’t the only issue. Just this past October, A 37 year old St. Augustine man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a deer in Palm Coast. So this resonates close to home.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are about one million car crashes annually that involve deer, killing about 200 people in the process. So, indirectly the deer, who are obviously victims themselves, is one of the most dangerous animals in the United States. In comparison, sharks kill about one person a year and bears about 28 in the past decade. So, here are some tips to avoid deer both for their safety and for yours.
  1. High beams should be used at night as much as possible to spot deer in the road ahead lurking along the side of the road. Make sure to use your high beams only when no other oncoming traffic is visible and turn them off if a vehicle approaches.

  2. Early morning and the hours just after dusk are periods of higher activity. This is when deer are more likely to be out and about in search of food or a potential mate.

  3. Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.

  4. Do deer whistles work? Well, I personally have had deer whistles on my cars in the past and knock on wood, I have never hit a deer, but that could just be luck. There are those that say that deer whistles do not work. They feel that by the time the deer hear the high pitched noise, considering the vehicle rate of speed, it might be too late for them to run out of the way. Deer whistles are super cheap though (most under $10). Deer whistles are easy to find and easy to clip on the front of your car. So, seems like it can’t hurt, right?

  5. There may be some new help on the way…

USDA’s Wildlife Service Researchers recently filed a patent for a new light bar they created to reduce collisions with deer.

The new light is a rear facing LED light bar that goes on the front of your vehicle. The bar illuminates more of the front of the vehicle than normal headlights do. Research shows that this results in less deer-vehicle collisions.

So how does it work? Since the deer are able to see the front of the vehicle better with the light bar on, they’ll notice the vehicle moving toward them. This makes them less likely to freeze in the middle of the road and do their famous “deer in the headlights” routine. USDA is looking for a company to build the light bar. So we may see it out soon.
deer3 deer1 deer2 deer4