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NJ Drivers, Deer and Motor Vehicle Accidents

The following subject matter is certainly not something we would have readily envisioned writing about when we first began our blog posts. Given, though, that we seek to write about stories that are timely and relevant to our practice areas - as well as informative and useful to our audience - we follow a story when, in surfacing, it suggests to us that there is some value in conveying it.

Which leads us to deer, prompted by our noting the following statistics from two disparate sources. First, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, in noting the state's "thriving herd," states that close to 53,000 deer were killed in the state by hunters last year. That strikes us as a lot of deer. Second, a recent State Farm Insurance study cites to a 54 percent increase in deer-related automobile accidents in New Jersey over a two-year period ending June 30, 2009.

The implications seem clear enough. Deer constitute a very real roadway hazard, and a bit of education concerning the dangers might logically be in order. Game management authorities note that crashes involving deer begin occurring at a comparatively high rate right now, with about half of all yearly accidents happening between October and December, coinciding with the mating season for deer.

Here are a few safety tips commonly suggested by those in the know:

• Deer are mostly about at dawn and dusk, so be especially vigilant if driving at those times
• If you see one deer, you'll probably see more
• Horns and blinking lights don't generally deter deer from crossing roads
• Don't ever swerve to avoid an accident; if it seems likely or inevitable, brake hard and hang onto the steering wheel tightly
• Don't approach a struck deer after a crash; rather, call the police

State Farm statistics indicate that 2.4 million vehicles collided with deer in 2009. That is certainly a sobering number. Drivers might want to think about it and - especially at this time of year - anticipate seeing deer on the road.

Related Resource: "Deer Season - and Car Crash Time - is Here" October 4, 2010

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