Motorists at risk during deer-mating season

Published 5:51 pm Monday, November 2, 2015

From AAA Carolinas

CHARLOTTE — AAA Carolinas is warning motorists that now through the end of November is the most likely time for collisions involving motor vehicles and deer. These types of crashes increase as the days get shorter, with more drivers on the road at dawn and dusk; when deer are most active.

“Deer season can be dangerous for Carolinians traveling on our roads and highways,” said David E. Parsons, President and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “It’s the perfect opportunity to remind motorists to stay alert and eliminate distractions behind the wheel.”

Deer near or on the roadway can be extremely erratic and unpredictable, especially during mating season. Mating season, or what deer hunters refer to as the ‘rut’, occurs at different times in different parts of the Carolinas. During this time, bucks chase does, increasing the chances of a deer colliding with a motor vehicle traveling on the road. While the most likely collision will be a motorist hitting a deer, many times especially during mating season, deer will run into drivers by colliding into the sides of their vehicles.

In North Carolina last year, AAA Insurance reported a total of 784 animal impact claims with an average payout of $1093. AAA predicts a 20% increase in 2015. To date, there have been 787 claims in North Carolina with an average payout of $1102 this year.

In 2014, there were 17,831 reported crashes in North Carolina involving animals, resulting in 11 fatalities and 3,386 people injured, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Tips to Avoid Striking a Deer with your Vehicle:

  • Be cautious and alert. Scan the road ahead. Look for deer crossing signs indicating where deer frequently travel. And be extra cautious at dawn and dusk when deer tend to be the most active.
  • Use high beam headlights when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot deer sooner. Sometimes the reflection off their eyes will reveal their location.
  • Look for groups. If you see one deer crossing the road, more are likely to follow.
  • Never swerve. Instead, stay in your lane and apply brakes firmly. Swerving can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, strike another vehicle or run off the road.
  • Use your horn. One long blast on your horn may frighten deer away from your vehicle. There is no conclusive evidence that hood-mounted deer whistles or other such devices work.


What to Do If You Hit a Deer:

  • Keep your distance. Don’t go near a deer if it’s hurt. Wounded animals are unpredictable and have the tendency to panic and possibly injure you. Don’t attempt to move a deer. Call police.
  • Contact your auto insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Take pictures to document the crash.


AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 1.9 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Connect with AAA Carolinas on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @AAACarolinas.