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Drive defensively during peak deer season

LIBERTY — Picture this: Driving south at night on state Route 11, you see a deer herd off in the tree line.

It’s not an uncommon sight on the stretch of highway in Trumbull and Mahoning counties. And while you’re looking at the deer, they may not be seeing you.

They’re fast creatures, it’s mating season and without warning your vehicle suddenly has a big dent, or worse. And you have an insurance claim.

Every year thousands of animals collide with or fly into vehicles.

State Farm insurance has released the results of its animal collisions study, which notes U.S. drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of having an insurance claim involving a collision with an animal.

It is estimated that 1.9 million animal collision claims industry-wide from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. The majority of animal collisions are with deer, and for same period of time, there were estimated to be 1.5 million deer claims industry-wide.

The months drivers are most likely to collide with an animal in the Ohio are, in order: November, October and December.

State Farm advises in its report there are precautions to take while driving to lower the chance of colliding with creatures great and small. They are:

• Stay alert. Pay attention to “deer crossing” and other road signs and be cautious in areas near woods or water.

• Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on a deer in the road may cause the animal to scurry away. High beams also help illuminate dark roads.

• Don’t swerve. If an animal / car crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don’t veer off the road.

• Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no drivers behind you, brake hard.

• Remember peak season. Deer crashes happen most during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.

• Remember meal time. Watch for animals in or near roads between dusk and dawn.

• Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.

• Don’t rely on a whistle. No scientific evidence supports that car-mounted deer whistles work.

• Wear seat belts. Always obey speed limits and wear seat belts.

news@tribtoday.com