SOCIAL CIRCLE — With an estimated 50,000 deer-car collisions annually in Georgia, leaders of the state’s wildlife, highway safety and insurance agencies are advising motorists to be cautious of increased deer sightings this fall.
More than 300 people were injured when vehicles collided with deer in 2011, according to data provided by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
The state agencies offer motorists some tips and information to help avoid potential collisions:
• Always remember deer are wild, and therefore, can be unpredictable. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may bolt into or across the road rather than away from it 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. Road shoulders generally provide green food both during extremely dry times of the year and following a long, hard winter.
• 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. If an accident occurs, alert the police as soon as possible.