Mild winter causes increase in deer population, auto accidents

Fishkill Injury Attorney Serving Myers Corner, Beacon, Lagrangeville and Nearby Areas of Hudson Valley

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New Yorkers hoping for a mild winter may not realize that warmer winter weather brings with it an increase in certain motor vehicle accidents. For instance, collisions with deer on the nation's highways have gone up significantly as a result of milder winter temperatures.

According to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 1.23 million car-deer collisions occurred in the United States during the 12 months ending June 30, 2012. State Farm says that this figure represents a 7.7 percent increase over the number of collisions with deer during the previous 12-month period. Such accidents had been on the decline over three years before the last year's sharp uptick.

The increase came during a period of milder than usual winter weather, leading to an expanded deer population. With more deer out traversing the countryside, more opportunities exist for encounters with cars. Deer do not recognize motor vehicle traffic as a deadly risk and can easily blunder onto the road.

To enhance the risk, deer and commuters are out in force at the same times of day. (Deer tend to be most actively feeding around sunup and sundown.)

Some may think that crashes involving deer simply lead to vehicle damage. (The average price tag is $3,305 for damage to property.) However, passenger injuries are just as likely. For instance, drivers may over steer or swerve in attempt to miss a deer and hit a tree.

Refrain from distracted driving behaviors

Whether the winter proves mild or chilly, it's important for New York motorists to refrain from texting while driving or other distracted driving behaviors during the upcoming winter months.

Additionally, drivers are encouraged to prepare their vehicles in case of an emergency. Checking the vehicle battery, tires, windshield wipers, lights and fluids is advised. Also, stocking the car with supplies like a window scraper, shovel, flashlight, and jumper cables is also recommended.

Patience is also a good attitude to cultivate when driving on icy roads, or those prone to deer crossings.

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