BALTIMORE — Fall is deer mating season, meaning more animals are likely to be seen on Maryland's roadways.
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that Frederick and Howard Counties ranked sixth and tenth nationwide in animal-related collisions between 2006 and 2018.
Late last month, a man was killed on I-97 when a deer was struck by one car and flew into the windshield of another.
Days later in Anne Arundel County, a car crashed into a deer on I-95 which ultimately involved two more vehicles, and turned into a deadly hit and run.
Another example is in 2018, when an estimated 11,184 deer were killed by cars in just Maryland alone, according to a report published by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Here are some AAA tips to help prevent deer crashes and what to do if it happens.
*AAA offers safety tips to help prevent a crash or to reduce damage from an animal collision*
- Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
- Don’t drive distracted. Continually scan roadways. Drivers should continuously sweep their eyes across the road in front of the vehicle looking for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also travel alongside the road, so make sure to look along both sides of the roadway, as well. While the most likely crash happens when a driver strikes an animal, on occasion, the animal may run into the vehicle.
- Be especially attentive in early morning and evening rush hours, from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m.
- Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
- Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely more nearby.
- Slow down around curves. It is harder to spot animals when going around curves.
- One long blast. A long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your vehicle.
- Resist the urge to swerve: Instead, stay in your lane with both hands firmly on the wheel. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause you to crash into something like a lamppost or a tree.
- If the crash is imminent, take your foot off the brake: during hard braking the front end of your vehicle is pulled downward which can cause the animal to travel up over the hood towards your windshield. Letting off the brake can protect drivers from windshield strikes because the animal is more likely to be pushed to one side of the vehicle or over the top of the vehicle.
- Always wear a seat belt. The chances of being injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you do not have your seatbelt on.
*In the event of a collision with an animal, AAA recommends*
- Following the collision, call the police.
- Avoid making contact with the deer/animal. A frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself.
- Put the vehicle’s hazard lights on; whether it’s light or dark outside.
- If possible, immediately move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway, and wait for help to arrive. Your safety and the safety of your passengers is paramount.
- Contact your insurance agent or company representative as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car and take photos to document the accident.