South Carolina has more than its fair share of beautifully wooded areas and stunning landscapes. However, drives through nature can take a dangerous turn in fall and winter, when deer crashes spike throughout the state. Deer activity ramps up quickly in autumn, leading to thousands of crashes every year. Those involved may experience injuries or property damage.
Car accidents are prevalent on South Carolina roads, and you have legal options if yours was caused by someone else’s negligence. Call Peake & Fowler at 803-788-4370 to set up a consultation with our team now.
Why You’ll See Heightened Deer Activity in Fall and Winter
The biggest cause of increased deer activity is mating season. When the mating season hits, deer will travel far and wide to find their mates. This means traveling outside their normal habitats and exploring new areas, which often leads to road crossings.
Food foraging is another reason that deer are very active this time of year. As temperatures begin to drop, they look for food sources that can help them build up their energy and fat stores for the cold months to come.
Daylight savings time also plays a role. With the time change, deer’s most active times unfortunately line up with when many people are leaving for work or leaving to head home. You can expect to see far more deer at dawn and dusk than at other times of day.
It’s especially important to be wary of deer when driving through new developments and suburban communities. When deer are displaced from their natural habitat, they often go in search of food and safety elsewhere. This can lead to unexpected sightings.
The Importance of Deer Crossing Signs
An old joke involves a person asking their friend how deer know that they can cross at “deer crossing” signs if they’re unable to read. In fact, deer crossing signs are an important part of reducing collisions throughout the country. They’re based on data from across the state on where deer accidents happen and where deer sightings occur. Signs are placed where there’s a larger-than-average number of sightings and collisions, warning drivers to be cautious.
Even if deer cross outside these parameters, the signs can be a helpful reminder to drivers and encourage them to slow down and be alert. These signs are generally made with reflective material, so they remind drivers to be careful at the most dangerous time of day for deer accidents—nighttime.
Protecting Yourself from Collisions
As a driver, making a few small adjustments to how and when you drive can drastically reduce your likelihood of being involved in a collision. When you’re driving at dawn or dusk and when you see a deer crossing sign, consider dropping your speed. Ideally, you’ll be able to come to a complete stop in the time it takes you to reach the end of your headlight beams. This gives you a better chance of stopping at the first sign of a deer in your area.
When driving at night, use your high beams whenever you can. Of course, you should switch back to regular headlights when you see someone approaching, but switch back to high beams when the road is empty. This significantly extends your range of vision and can help you prevent a crash.
Distracted driving is never recommended, but it is especially dangerous when you’re in deer territory. The milliseconds you lose to your phone or passenger conversation could mean the difference between colliding with a deer and having a near-miss.
What happens if a deer crosses your path? Honk your horn and hit your brakes. Do not swerve out of the way, because there’s a good chance you’ll lose control of your vehicle and end up in an even more dangerous situation.
If you’re active on social media, look into local wildlife accounts. They may post updates on deer activity in the area that can help you adjust your routes.
Hurt in a Car Crash? Call Peake & Fowler Now
If you’ve been hurt in a Columbia car accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the liable party. While you can’t sue a deer for totaling your car, you may be able to sue a negligent driver who strikes you. Call us at 803-788-4370 or reach out online to set up a time to talk.