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How to Avoid a Collision with a Deer

How to Avoid a Collision with a Deer

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.

Sources:

  • 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

Accident Prevention for Veterans

Our military vets have been through it all. They have faced combat, life and death, and witnessed visions a civilian could not even conjure up in their worst nightmare. But after surviving the battlefield, military veterans come home to face another war – surviving the roads. Shockingly traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for military personnel in their first year after returning home from battle.

“It troubles me to tell you that once you get them home safely, they are coming home to risk of death and injury on our roadways.” – Ronald Medford, deputy administration for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

So why is this occurring? Apparently once a soldier survives the battlefield, they come home with this feeling of invincibility leading them to speed, not wear seatbelts or helmets, and engage in other risky driving behaviors. Also they may come back with PTSD or looking for ways to cope with their war horrors by abusing alcohol and getting on the road drunk. Others may be continually living the threats they endured during war by always being on the lookout for explosives in their path or other battle scenarios thinking that these dangers lurk while driving in the U.S. causing them extreme stress. If normal post-war stress is not the cause, those that suffered head injuries, and sometimes undetected or untreated head injuries, may not be aware of their risky driving.

While this statistic applies to all returning vets, the most vulnerable to engaging in risky driving behaviors are more often young, unmarried males that were in the roles of infantry, gun crews, or seamanship. These individuals see some of worst action in battle and the images and horrific events just haunt them.

Many military families are not aware of this commonality among returning vets and need to be aware of the behaviors or warning signs to keep their loved ones safe on the roads. If you witness your returning soldier being risky behind the wheel, you should get them help before they become a danger to themselves or to others on the road. The Veteran’s Administration would be a great place to start as they offer programs to help them cope with their return to civilian life.

Also, the Veteran’s Administration, Department of Transportation, and Department of Defense are taking this very seriously and are working to increase awareness of the increased risk of car crashes for returning vets to military families and mental health professionals. Vets are also being offered driver re-training when they return home.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Ft. Belvoir or Quantico, Virginia, order this Free consumer guide for accident victims in Virginia. It’s packed with useful information the insurance companies don’t want you to know. If you have questions about your case, contact Parrish Law Firm, PLLC today for a FREE evaluation (571) 206-0215.

Sources:

Prince William Police Officer, Chris Yung, Killed In Motorcycle Accident

A motorcycle police officer was killed in Prince William County on Monday afternoon after being struck by a minivan as the officer drove through a green light with his siren and lights flashing, reports The Washington Post.

Chris Yung, 35, a member of the Prince William County police department and former Marine, was traveling south on Nokesville Road near the intersection of Piper Lane in Bristow, VA at around 2 p.m. when he was struck by a 2001 Dodge Caravan, driven by a 69-year-old Gainesville resident as she pulled out of a shopping center and attempted to make a left turn onto northbound Nokesville Road. Both vehicles caught fire after the accident but the driver and passenger in the Caravan escaped without injury.

Two off-duty members of the Fairfax County Department of Fire and Rescue, aided by two civilians, pulled Yung from the wreckage and administered CPR. He was transported to an area hospital but died shortly after.

Yung was traveling to the scene of another accident when he was struck. There have been no charges filed and the accident remains under investigation.

The Misunderstood Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage

As you may know, in the state of Virginia it is legal to drive without insurance. In the case of an uninsured driver, the Virginia Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) law allows the motor vehicle owner to register it as uninsured and then drive it on the roads along with all others.

If a vehicle is registered as uninsured, the owner of the vehicle is required to pay a $500 fee to the DMV in addition to normal registration fees. This fee does not provide insurance for the motorist. If motorist gets in an accident, they remain personally liable. The $500 registration fee covers a twelve month period, but may be prorated for a shorter amount of time.

You may wonder, I’m paying for my own liability insurance coverage (in case I cause an accident), so why do I also have Uninsured Motorist Coverage Insurance on my automobile insurance policy and bill? You may also notice this is mandatory to pay in the state of Virginia. Please understand this coverage will pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages caused to you (and others in your car) by an uninsured driver. Basically, you are paying for the chance that you or a family member is in a collision with an uninsured motorist. So, even if the person who caused your wreck is uninsured, your insurance company provides insurance to you.

You may also wonder how much insurance is available to you in a situation like this. It depends on the amount of uninsured motorist coverage that exists under your own policy and any others that may apply to you. The amount your policy lists as the limitation of liability essentially means you can recover up to that amount for injuries and damages.

This law has many fine points that need much explanation. That aside, here’s a tip, you want your uninsured motorist coverage to be as high as your general liability insurance limits, so check your existing policy coverage. Even though this law may make you angry or confused when paying the bills, just remember it could be the most important coverage for you and your family down the road!

Contact an experienced lawyer for help.

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