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Ohio drivers: Deer alert! Crash potential rises this time of year

Hunters are currently active across Ohio, which drives home a salient fact: There are a lot of deer in the state.

And, extrapolated from relevant numbers, a lot of deer-related car accidents.

Keeping an eye peeled off toward roadway shoulders and adjoining woodland areas is always a good idea, of course, but deer experts caution that being extra alert is especially merited right now.

And for good reason. Deer populations are on the move this time of year -- typically from October to January, their yearly mating season -- and crossing streets, rural roads and even interstates in relatively high volume.

That, of course, increases the potential for a car-deer collision.

An understanding of how serious that potential is can be immediately gleaned from this statistic supplied by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on its website: According to the agency, state hunters harvested nearly 219,000 deer during last year's hunting season.

That obviously makes for a steady progression of deer across roadways, which just as obviously puts an added onus on state drivers to be especially alert to that activity.

Vehicle insurer State Farm estimates that the "average" American motorist has a one in 174 chance of being involved in an auto-deer collision within the next 12 months. Logic drives home the fact that those odds go up during the autumn-winter time period when deer are most active.

So, a few words to the wise for motorists from insurers and other experts who pay close attention to deer-crash numbers: Always be vigilant, of course, but be especially on the lookout for deer in the early morning hours and around sunset, and know that one deer sighting is often followed quickly by another.

And don't swerve to avoid a collision. It is usually better to simply hit a deer head-on than to quickly change lanes and place other drivers and their occupants in danger.

Source: Bankrate, "When a deer crashes into your auto insurance," Jay MacDonald, Nov. 6, 2013

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