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Drivers beware: deer-car collisions increasing in North Carolina

North Carolina has seen an increase in car accidents involving deer. Deer-car collisions have increased by eight percent during the past three years, according to a State Farm Insurance report. State Farm Insurance has also labeled North Carolina as one of 16 states with the highest risk for deer-car accidents.

North Carolina transportation officials have reported roughly 19,500 car accidents involving animals this past year, with 90 percent of these accidents involving deer. What has led to the increase in deer-car accident in the state?

The deer population has steadily increased during the past few years in North Carolina. While many deer-car collisions continue to occur on rural or suburban roads, more accidents have been occurring in urban areas as well. State officials have reported that the deer population has moved to more densely populated areas throughout North Carolina, leading to more deer-car collisions in the state.

While the increase in deer-car collisions has surprised some, it has remained a common problem for many drivers in North Carolina. The most common time for drivers to hit a deer is during the fall and early winter. State officials report that deer-car collisions are most likely to happen during the months of October to December, with State Farm reporting that November is the month with the most reported deer-car accidents in North Carolina.

Despite drivers being aware of the risks of hitting a deer on North Carolina roads, it can be difficult to prevent a collision. Many motorists involved in deer-car collisions report that the accident occurred so quickly that they didn't have time to react.

Driving at higher speeds can make it difficult for drivers to prevent hitting a deer in the road. Transportation officials have told drivers that it is better to try and stop when they see a deer in the road instead of trying to swerve around the animal. Many serious and fatal car accidents involving deer actually occur when drivers swerve to avoid hitting the deer and end up crashing into another vehicle or object.

Officials reported that over 3,500 people have been injured and 17 deaths have been reported due to car accidents involving deer in North Carolina since 2009.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "Deer-vehicle collisions on the rise," Steve Lyttle, Nov. 12, 2012

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