Such collisions are likely to occur during deer hunting season — between late September and early December — when there is a noticeable increase in the movement of the deer population. Drivers should remember that deer aren’t just crossing rural roads. In fact, many deer crashes happen routinely on busy highways near Johnson City, Elizabethton and Jonesborough.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says there are 1.5 million deer-related car accidents annually that result in more than $1 billion in vehicle damage. Collisons with deer also injure more than 10,000 motorists and kill more than 200 Americans annually.
The Insurance Information Institute recommends motorists take the following precautions to avoid deer-related collisions:
• Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland.
• Always wear your seat belt and stay awake, alert and sober.
• When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic.
• Never veer for deer. Most deaths and injuries occur when drivers swerve and hit a tree, building or another car.
• Do not rely on such ineffective devices as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer.
• If you do hit a deer, avoid going near or touching the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. Text *847 from a cell phone for assistance.
And be sure to report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency and animal control office, as well as to your insurance company.