But while the driver may think the deer knows to stay still as a two-ton automobile goes cruising by, the two does behind him are moving fast to get to the other side.
It is this time each year when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources urges drivers to be cautious of increased deer activity due to mating season, but Rome and Floyd County drivers should be aware of deer throughout the year.
“The best thing to do if you notice them on the side of the road is to slow down,” said Lt. Roy Willingham of the Rome Police Department.
“If you see one or two, there are probably two or three more behind it so be prepared. They can jump out into the road at any moment.”
Deer usually are most active during two times of the day: at dawn and at dusk.
Willingham said the worst places for deer-auto collisions are along Martha Berry Boulevard from Redmond Road north to just before Mount Berry Square mall — which includes the roadway adjacent to Berry College property.
He also said that recent road construction could create more trouble spots.
“Lately, they’re just about everywhere,” Willingham said. “I imagine the new Armuchee Connector would be pretty bad as well, with it being near the river and having all of those corn fields around it.”
Willingham said officers would come out and make a report of a deer collision if there is a lot of damage as a courtesy to the driver, but most insurance companies do not require them.
Local State Farm insurance agent David Prusakowski always advises new and young customers not to swerve when a deer runs out in front of them.
“They may not like possibly hitting the deer, but if they run off of the road there’s a greater chance of further injury or damage to the vehicle,” he said.
Prusakowski said his insurance agency hasn’t really seen an increase in the number of automobile claims for deer incidents related to the season.
The agent also said claims filed are usually consistent between those who live within the city and those who live in the county.
“It seems, in my experience, that it’s almost a year-round issue,” Prusakowski said. “A significant amount of comprehensive claims that come in to us are deer-auto collisions.”
Prusakowski also states that just collision coverage does not cover deer accidents most of the time, but comprehensive coverage does.
There are 50,000 deer-car collisions annually in Georgia, and more than 300 people were injured in deer-car collisions in 2011, according to data provided by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
DEER DRIVING TIPS
Georgia state officials offer these tips and information to help drivers avoid collisions with deer:
- Remember deer are wild and can be unpredictable. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may bolt into or across the road rather than run away when startled by a vehicle.
- Take caution and slow down when a deer crosses. Deer generally travel in groups, so if one crosses, be prepared that others may follow.
- As deer are most active at dawn and dusk, they typically are seen roadside during the early morning and late evening — the same times most people are commuting to and from work.
- While deer-car collisions can occur any time of year, the fall breeding season is a peak time for such accidents.
- If it is too late to avoid a collision, drivers are advised to slow down as much as possible to minimize damage. Resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer. This may cause further damage, sending drivers off the road or causing a collision with another vehicle.
Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources