Deer vs. car collisions on the rise

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - November is one of the highest months for collisions between deer and cars in South Carolina. The state is ranked 18th in the country with a 1-in-140 chance of having a collision with a deer.

Experts estimate that over the last two years there have been 2.3 million deer-related accidents. That is equivalent to 95,000 a month or 3,200 a day.

Deer vs. car collisions cause about 200 deaths per year. Experts say that number could be on the rise, due to growing deer populations and the fact that their habitats are being displaced by urban development.

Deer migration and mating season in the U.S. takes place from October through December. This is when deer are most vulnerable and collisions happen.

State Farm, the auto insurance agency, said while the number of miles driven by U.S. motorists over the last five years has increased by 2 percent, the number of deer vs. vehicle collisions in that time has increased by 10 times that amount.

If you plan on driving this holiday season, here are a few tips to be aware of while driving:

Be aware of deer signs. Deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.

Use high beam headlights while driving at night, if you can. This will help illuminate more of the road and the surroundings in front of you.

If a collision seems inevitable, hit the brakes, but do not swerve. This may cause you to lose control of your vehicle or go into on coming traffic.

Several makers of one device say they can keep deer out of your headlights. It is called a deer whistle. You put it on your car and it emits a high frequency noise that is supposed to frighten deer. But will it keep the animals away?

Research doesn't support that finding yet. One study from the University of Georgia found the high frequency actually attracts deer.

Experts at the Department of Natural Resources say that you shouldn't let your guard down if you have a whistle because deer don't have the intelligence to get out of the way of a car.

West Virginia tops the list of most likely states for deer vs. car collisions.

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