Data included in a recent study from the Insurance Information Institute estimates that there are approximately 1.6 million vehicle-deer accidents in the United States annually, resulting in roughly 200 vehicle occupant fatalities, thousands of injuries and over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage. The Washington Department of Transportation reported that over 1,100 wildlife-vehicle accidents are reported to the Washington State Patrol annually, resulting in about 1,200 injuries.
The Washington Department of Transportation (WDOT) stated that more deer-vehicle collisions occur between the months of October and December than any other time of the year. NW Insurance Council president Karl Newman said, “Deer-vehicle collision can cause significant damage to vehicles and serious injury to drivers and passengers. Using caution and staying alert can save your life and eliminate the need for costly vehicle repairs.”
The NW Insurance Council has several defensive driving suggestions to aid in avoiding wildlife while behind the wheel this year. They say paying particular attention to the road, and watching for wildlife, during the hour between sunset and midnight, and just before and after sunrise, will decrease the risk of a collision because these are the highest-risk periods for such accidents. When driving through deer-crossing zones, be especially cautious. Deer seldom travel alone, so if you see one, expect more. If there is no oncoming traffic at night, utilize your high-beam headlights to maximize visibility. If you see a deer run near or in your lane, brake firmly and hold a straight course. Many serious accidents occur when drivers attempt to swerve away from the animals and lose control of their vehicles.
As a Bellevue car accident lawyer, I’ve seen the effects of many deer-vehicle accidents in the past and understand the severity of such collisions. I urge all drivers to practice cautionary driving in areas at risk for such collisions to maximize your chances for safe passage. If you’ve been injured in an accident that you believe was the fault of another driver’s actions, contact a car accident lawyer in your town.