Auto insurance claims spike between late October and early December each year as deer become more active during their mating season, AAA reports.
In Connecticut, the number of reported deer killed in a car crash throughout the year increased 16 percent from 1,456 to 1,683 between 2010 and 2011, according to figures that AAA says were provided by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The total number of deer killed by cars is estimated by DEEP to be six times the reported number — five times as many dead deer are unreported, in other words.
People reported driving more last fall than in 2010, which may contribute to the rise in car crashes involving deer in Connecticut. The AAA does an annual survey of drivers to determine if they plan to travel for Thanksgiving, which is a small part of the deer mating season, and New England drivers reported a 3.9 percent increase in planned automobile travel last year compared with 2010.
The cost to repair vehicles after crashing into a deer is, on average, $3,700, according to AAA and Allied Group data on insurance claims in parts of seven states: Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
In order to reduce the likelihood of a crash, AAA recommends the following:
• Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you.
• Use high beam headlights if there’s no oncoming traffic.
• If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane.
• Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk.
• Drivers should always wear a seat belt and remain awake, alert, and sober.