PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Grazing in a misty rain they look so calm and docile, and for the most part, they are, but they are also a major threat when you are behind the wheel.
“Pennsylvania is ranked No. 5, and you have a one in 77 chance of hitting a deer,” said Jennifer Johnsen-Nazareth, of State Farm Insurance.
“We estimate between 4,000 and 5,000 deer in and around Allegheny County that are dispersing,” Pa. Wildlife Conservation Officer Gary Fujak adds. “They are finding their new territory.”
In West Virginia, one out of every 41 drivers is likely to have a run in with a deer, and no matter where you are, the experts say slowdown in the evening hours.
“Six to nine is the peak time you see deer on the move,” Johnsen-Nazareth says.
Bow hunters in the woods and bucks in search of love also spur the movement. Deer whistles and car horns won’t stop a white tail.
“When they want to cross the road they are going to cross the road,” Fujak said.
As cruel as it may sound, State Farm says the safest move is to hit your brakes but don’t swerve.
“The deer will move. Conceptually, a telephone pole, a guide rail, or worse yet, oncoming traffic, it could be much more significant,” said Johnsen-Nazareth.
Most serious injuries come from swerving to avoid the deer.
While the year to year number of Pennsylvania deer strikes dropped by 4,000 from last year, we still took out 115,000 deer with our wheels, and are spending a bundle in repairs.
“Last year, the cost of repair was about $3,000 on average; this year, it’s up to $3,400,” Johnsen-Nazareth said.
Two final thoughts; if you see one deer, there’s a good chance a second, third or more could be close behind, and that will be true from now until the end of November.