Deer season brings road hazards to county

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


According to State Farm Insurance, the odds of someone from Iowa having a claim due to a vehicle accident with a deer is one in 69, making Iowa the fourth highest state for deer collisions.

Law enforcement reports show in 2016 there were over 7,100 deer-related traffic accidents. The State Farm report also says the numbers were down 1.4 percent in 2016. The report also said that the average claim from a deer accident was just under $4,000. The likelihood of colliding with a large animal more than doubles during the months of October, November and December, during deer mating season. Whether you hit a large animal or it jumps into the side of your vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage. No matter where you live, it?s important to keep your eyes up and focus on the road, helping you take action in the event a large animal is suddenly in your path. Some other tips to help keep drivers safe include:

The number of deer accidents skyrockets in the fall during the deer?s mating season and harvest season in which the crops that had been providing deer with cover are removed. According to the State Farm report, November is the most dangerous month for deer accidents, followed by October and December.

?We know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season,? said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. ?However, drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times, because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or any other obstacle that may suddenly be in your path.?

An accident occurring anywhere within the State of Iowa causing death, personal injury, or total property damage of $1,500 or more must be reported on an Iowa Accident Report form. However, such report is not required when the accident is investigated by a law enforcement agency. Failure to return an accident report form within 72 hours may result in suspension of your driving privileges. Note: You must attempt to completely fill out this report.

Also, the insurance information on page four of the report must be completed. Failure to complete insurance coverage information may result in the suspension of your driving and registration privileges.

Some other tips to help keep drivers safe include:

? Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn

? If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road

? Pay attention to deer crossing signs

? Always buckle up, every trip, every time

? Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic

? Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which could result in a more severe crash

? Remain focused on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals

? Avoid distractions, like devices or eating, which might cause you to miss seeing an animal

? Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, which are not proven effective

? If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear and keep focus on the road ahead