November peak time for vehicle/animal crashes
AMES, Iowa – The deer in Iowa are on the move and becoming more of a traffic hazard for motorists. Over the past five years (2001-2005), Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) statistics show 38,877 total crashes with animals, mostly deer.
In those crashes:
- 27 people were killed;
- 225 sustained major injuries;
- 1,105 had minor injuries;
- 1,709 of the crash reports recorded possible, unconfirmed or unknown injuries to motorists; and
- 36,341 recorded only property damage.
Iowa DOT statistics also place November as the month with the largest number of vehicle and animal crashes. Reasoning behind the higher November crash rates could include: deer in the rutting season are more mobile and less cautious, especially at dawn and dusk; harvest is removing deer habitat, causing the animals to seek shelter elsewhere; and hunters are converging on wooded areas, further reducing viable habitats.
Click here for a chart detailing month-by-month vehicle/animal crash averages for 2001-2005.
Here are some driving tips from the Iowa DOT.
- Slow down when you see a deer warning sign and pay greater attention.
- When driving at night in a deer crossing area, use high beams when no other traffic is around.
- If you see one deer, expect others.
- When driving near wooded areas or river beds, pay attention to the sides of the road.
- Whenever you see a deer, don't veer. Slow down and watch for additional animals.
- It's generally safer to hit the deer than run off the road.
- Research shows that people most seriously injured in deer-vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts. Wear seat belts.
- According to a report issued by State Farm Insurance, deer-vehicle collisions typically cost the driver $500 to $8,000.
- If you hit the deer, don't touch it. It may be stunned and is likely to jump up and run off. Get your vehicle off the road and call law enforcement.
- Deer whistles, the popular front bumper accessory, haven't proven effective in independent tests. The best way to prevent crashes is to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
For more detailed information on vehicle/animal crashes, visit the DOT's Web site at http://www.dot.state.ia.us/crashanalysis/data/animal.htm.
Contact: Michael Pawlovich, 515-239-1428 or firstname.lastname@example.org