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Off-road drivers must be aware of deer collisions

Fans of off-road driving know they need to be constantly on the lookout for certain obstacles. Some of these can be particularly difficult to plan for, especially if they are wild animals with a mind of their own. One of the biggest threats is deer, which frequently are seen near paved roads and off-road trails and can pose a danger to those drivers not paying close attention. 

Deer collisions on the decline
According to a recent study from State Farm, in the past year, approximately 1.22 million accidents were caused by the presence of a deer. This is a 3.5 percent decrease from the year before. 

The odds of a motorist striking a deer in the next 12 months are 1 in 174, which is down from 1 in 167 last year. The largest declines are expect to be in North Dakota and Nebraska, where the odds are dropping by 24.8 and 22 percent, respectively. Motorists in West Virginia are more likely to have a problem with a deer collision than any other state. 

Despite the decline in the number of collisions, those who find themselves involved in accidents with deer often face costly repairs. In fact, damage from these crashes can cost several thousands of dollars, with most destruction centered on the outside frame and truck modifications. 

"The cars look worse because they're absorbing the impact rather than passing it on to the passengers," Dave Huskey, manager of an auto repair business, told Bloomberg. "It takes a lot of damage to get inside the frame."

What to watch out for
While the number of collisions has gone down, the potential for accidents remains high, especially for those who frequently go off-roading. This means drivers must stay focused at all times and should know how to react in the event of an emergency. 

"To avoid hitting a deer, drivers must slow down whenever they see deer in the area. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby that could dash in front of your vehicle," David Pabst, director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, told the Sheboygan Daily.

"If you can't avoid a deer, it's safer to hit the brakes and hit the deer than to swerve suddenly and try to miss it," he continued. "If you swerve, you risk losing control of your vehicle and rolling over or hitting another car or stationary object, like a tree."