Over one million deer related crashes occur annually and many of these accidents happen in Mississippi. Mississippi is home to a large and thriving deer population, which is great for nature enthusiasts and hunters, but potentially dangerous for drivers. Over 3,000 collisions between deer and vehicles occur in Mississippi each year. This equates to the odds that one in every 131.35 drivers will be involved in an accident involving a deer. By the time you have finished reading this blog post, a deer related accident will likely have taken place somewhere in the U.S.
Collisions with deer can cause serious damage to your vehicle and your person. Over 200 fatalities are caused by deer-vehicle collisions each year. The average damage to a truck or car is over $3,000.
The following is a list tips to help you safely navigate on roadways that might also serve as deer crossing points:
- Be vigilant—stay alert and drive defensively, particularly during the fall and at dawn and dusk. Deer movement increases during the months of October through early January, and deer are especially active between sunrise and sunset. Twenty percent of deer crashes occur in the early morning and more than half occur between the hours of 5 p.m. and midnight. Proceed with extra caution during these active deer times.
- Observe posted areas—be especially watchful in areas where deer crossing signs are posted. These areas are known to have large deer populations that live near roadways, so accidents here are more likely. Deer can wander into suburban areas, but are most often found on the outskirts of town and in wooded areas.
- Watch for eyes—especially at night, deer can often be detected by the shine of eyes along the roadside. Immediately begin to slow upon seeing these eyes.
- Always wear a seatbelt and drive at a safe speed—traveling at high speeds may prevent you from spotting a deer or being able to stop in time. Further, in the event you are in an accident with a deer or get into an accident while trying to avoid one, wearing a safety belt can save your life.
- If you see one, there will be more—deer travel in herds, so if one crosses in front of you, stop and wait for others. When you do continue traveling, drive at slow speeds and stay alert as there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
- Exercise caution if you need to swerve to avoid a deer—sometimes drivers will be put in the position of either hitting a deer or swerving to evade it. Avoiding a deer collision is always preferred but sometimes swerving is dangerous. Before you swerve, check to make sure you will not move into the path of an oncoming vehicle or lose control of your vehicle on gravel or inclines.
- Use high beams when possible at night—when no other vehicles are approaching, use your high beams to illuminate the road. This can help you spot approaching deer.
- Flash your lights—if you see a deer frozen on the roadway, try flashing your lights as you slowly approach and give one long blast of the horn. Deer tend to become mesmerized by bright, steady lights, so the goal is to stir them to action.
- Do not rely on car mounted deer whistles—deer whistles emit a sound when a vehicle is traveling over 35 mph. The sound is intended to cause a deer or other animal to freeze along the side of the road, hence preventing an accident. However, these devices are far from fool proof and should not replace heightened vigilance, defensive driving, and reasonable speeds.
If you have been involved in an accident in Mississippi, the Giddens Law Firm can help. The Giddens Law Firm has represented the victims of all manner of accidents for over 20 years. Our passionate attorney team will relentlessly fight for your recovery. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 for a free case analysis.