Hey kids! Let’s count how many deer we pass while traveling down the Fairfax County Parkway! The deer are everywhere and causing a very dangerous situation for drivers in Northern Virginia. State Farm reports that there are about 1.5 million animal-car accidents each year that cause 10,000 injuries, 150 deaths, and an average of $2,500 in property damage with 4,000 to 5,000 deer related crashes occurring each year in Fairfax County alone. With Virginia ranked 8th in the number for deer accidents, the odds are very high that a driver in Virginia will see a deer in their path.
Encountering a deer on the road can be frightening because you just don’t know what they are going to do and sometimes they just come out of nowhere like in the case of Timothy Ray Schleeter who was killed a few weeks ago because a deer struck his motorcycle on Compton Road in Clifton.
Here are a few driving safety tips to avoid a collision with a deer:
- This one is easy, stay alert!
- Deer are herd animals so if you see one others will be close by in the area.
- Deer Crossing signs are there for a reason. Be especially watchful in these areas.
- Deer are active year round in Northern Virginia but pay special attention at dusk and dawn and also during the fall and spring seasons as this is when deer are most active.
- If there is no oncoming traffic, use your high-beams as much as possible so you can spot deer in enough time to avoid them. If you see a deer with the caught in the headlights look, flash your lights to break this trance. If that does not work, sound your horn to scare the deer away.
- Also pay attention if someone is behind you because if you brake hard, you may cause a collision with the car behind you. If at all possible, tap your brakes or reduce your speed to give the driver behind you enough time to respond. This is why it is very important to keep a lookout at all times to give yourself and others on the road sufficient warning to avoid a crash.
- Deer whistles and other warning devices have not been proven to be effective so don’t waste your money on them and don’t rely on them if they are already installed on your car.
- Fairfax County Police recommend that if a collision with a deer is inevitable, take your foot off the brake at the time of impact so the front end of your vehicle will lift up and enable the deer to go under the car, rather than over it – reducing the danger of it crashing through the windshield or windows. It is best not to swerve as you could lose control of your car and make matters worse for yourself.
- If you do strike a deer with your car, call the police immediately to report the incident and don’t touch the animal. If the animal did survive, it could strike at you out of fear and panic and cause injury. Allow the authorities to handle it for you.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Northern Virginia and have questions about your personal injury case, contact Parrish Law Firm, PLLC today for a FREE evaluation at (571) 206-0215.
- Fairfax County Police – Deer Information and Management: Driving Safety
- State Farm – Watch Out For Animals In The Road
- WUSA 9 – Deer Cause Multiple Accidents on WB I-66
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries – Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer