Mating season for deer has begun. That means the animals are on the move, and drivers face a higher risk of striking them.
Virginia is considered a high-risk state by insurance companies, The Virginian-Pilot reported last week. The average claim for damage is nearly $4,000.
November is the month that drivers are most likely to strike a deer. Dawn and dusk carry the highest risk.
News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has been covering this side of the state since joining NBC4 in 1992. She's joined by reporter Drew Wilder.
Nelson Lafon, the deer project coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said the state has about 850,000 deer.
Most accidents do not result in the animal being struck. Many drivers swerve instead to avoid the animal and strike a tree or another vehicle.
The Fairfax County Police Department says drivers should follow these safety tips:
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Do not text and drive.
- Use your high beams to spot deer that may be farther away.
- If you see a deer in the road, slow down and flash your headlights. Police say deer can become mesmerized or blinded by steady lights.
- Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Slow down or stop. Police say a crash with another car will likely be more serious.
- Take your foot off the brake at time of the crash. According to police, this reduces the chance the deer will crash through your windshield or windows.