Thousands of Georgians will take to the roads this holiday season, but the increase of traffic shouldn’t be the only travel concern. In 2016, there was a 1 in 126 chance of hitting a deer in Georgia according to State Farm insurance . Most collisions occur between October and December during peak rut. Bucks are chasing does in some counties, making it more likely for you to see deer on or along the roadway. To determine the rut in your county, look here: http://georgiawildlife.com/rut-map. Unfortunately, deer don’t always abide by traffic laws and can make their way across the road at the worst times.
Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe this season:
- Be alert especially when travelling in the morning or evening.
Deer move most during dawn and dusk when people are most likely to travel to and from work. Avoid distractions like using your cell phone or eating.
- Don’t veer for deer!
You should brake firmly and remain in your lane even if it means hitting the deer. Most injuries are caused from swerving to miss the deer and leaving the roadway.
- Slow down in areas with deer signs along the roadway.
These areas are known for deer crossings. Also, be sure to keep your eyes open after seeing one deer. Deer usually move together so if you see one, you’ll likely see another.
- If you do hit a deer, do not approach the animal.
Resist the urge to check on the deer. They’re not aware you’re trying to help and can easily injure you.
- Always wear your seatbelt!
It’s not just the law. It could save your life!
Even for the safest driver, there’s still a chance your car could become a mechanical predator. If that does happen, you’re likely to have some questions about what do to:
- What if the animal is still alive?
You can call a wildlife conservation officer or a local law enforcement department to euthanize the animal. You can find your local officer here: http://gadnrle.org/find-ranger
- Can I keep it to eat?
Yes, you can. You also do not need to notify DNR about possessing a roadkill deer.
- Who do I call to dispose of the carcass?
The best thing to do is call 511 and report the location to the operator. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will then dispatch a crew to safely remove it from the roadway.
- Will the state of Georgia cover my vehicle damage?
No. The state will not pay for repairs to your vehicle or insurance deductible. You should handle any damages through your insurance provider.