There are many enjoyable pastimes living in the South offers this time of year. Roasting marshmallows by the fire while enjoying the wonderful fall weather, SEC football, and pumpkin picking with the family are just a few. Another popular hobby for many Georgians during October, November, and December is deer hunting. While hunting can be enjoyable, deer migration and mating habits are disturbed as a result. For this reason, the fall season is the time of year that the highest number of deer-automobile collisions occurs.
According to a study by the University of Georgia, there were 45,811 reported deer collisions across the state from 2005 until 2012. The chances of a collision with a deer are higher in the early morning hours and when the sun goes down. Not only are the animals most active during these times, but commuters to and from work are on Georgia roadways more at these times as well. Another factor contributing to the high number of auto-deer collisions this time of year is the likelihood of deer traveling in groups. Many motor vehicle accidents do not involve the first deer, but from those following behind.
While avoiding a collision with a deer can be difficult, there are methods for lowering that risk and ensure for a safer drive. Drivers should stay alert while behind the wheel of a vehicle at all times. Deer are very unpredictable animals, so if you see a deer standing alongside the road it is important to slow the vehicle in case it chooses to cross unexpectedly. It is not always possible to avoid collision with a deer, so in the unfortunate situation in which a collision is unavoidable, slow down as much as possible before impact and resist your instincts of swerving to avoid the animal. Oftentimes attempts to avoid striking a deer lead to more significant crashes, including colliding with another vehicle or losing control and skidding off the road.
As always, we urge Georgians to wear your seat belts, drive below the speed limit, and stay alert while operating a vehicle.