From now throughout November, drivers are warned to keep a keen eye for deer crossing in search of a mate or food, or both.
The start of the deer mating season brings an increase in the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions.
“Statistics show that most deer/car accidents take place during November,” said Mary Jo Hudson, director of the Ohio Department of insurance. “And now is the time when drivers should check with their insurance agent to make sure they're adequately covered if they should hit a deer.”
Such accidents are fully covered by auto insurance only if owners have bought physical damage coverage. Just having liability coverage means the owner of the insured vehicle is going to be required to pay the $250 or $500 deductible, or whatever amount it may be.
“A car hitting a deer, or a deer hitting a car, can result in thousands of dollars in damages,” Hudson said. “A deer/vehicle accident is considered a comprehensive rather that a collision claim. Your claim would be reduced by the amount of the deductible. The higher the deductible, of course, the greater the savings on the premium payment. Car owners should speak with their insurance agent to determine their auto insurance coverage needs. Together you can decide if purchasing physical damage coverage is appropriate, and what deductible amount to choose.”
The Ohio Department of Public Safety offers the following well-worn but needful tips on avoiding deer on the highways during the breeding season:
• Drive at or below the posted speed limit and use extreme caution at all times, especially in areas where you see deer-crossing signs posted.
• Be aware that the highest risk periods are from sunset to midnight., followed by the hours shortly before and after sunrise.
• Use high beams after dark if there is no opposing traffic. High beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway and provider greater reaction time for the motorist.
• Keep your seat belt buckled and drive at a safe and sensible speed for the weather conditions.
• If you see collision with the deer seems probable then hit it while maintaining full control of your car. Don't swerve. Brake firmly and stay in your lane. Swerving off the road or into the oncoming lane in order to miss a deer can make for an even worse accident.
• If you bring down a deer, report it to a local law enforcement agency, such at the Ohio State Highway Patrol or a state wildlife officer within 24 hours. Ohio law allows the driver who kills a deer to take possession of it. You must first obtain a deer possession receipt from a trooper or wildlife officer, or from the local Division of Wildlife district office.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.