Be alert during deer season

Drivers need to be careful this time of the year to avoid deer crashes. But the odds are against you when driving in Pennsylvania and Ohio and, especially, in West Virginia.

The odds of a Mountain State resident having an insurance claim because of a deer collision are 1 in 41. In Pennsylvania, the odds are 1 in 67 and they’re 1 in 126 in Ohio. West Virginia leads the country in odds of a deer crash, according to a report from State Farm insurance. Pennsylvania is third.

October, November and December are the worst months for deer crashes because it’s the mating season.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety reported 21,061 deer crashes across the state in 2015, with 4,791 reported in the month of November.

Drivers need to be alert for deer, especially at dawn and after sunset, the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.

Extreme caution is needed when traveling through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from wooded areas.

Deer at this time of the year seldom run alone. Seeing one deer most likely means there are others nearby. If a deer crosses the road in front of your vehicle, chances are another will try to follow.

When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer standing on or near the roadway.

If a deer is seen on or near the road,  slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to try to scare the deer away.

Don’t swerve your vehicle to avoid striking a deer.

It is actually better to hit the deer while maintaining full control of the vehicle than attempting to swerve out of the way. The Ohio State Highway Patrol notes more people are injured in accidents because the driver tried to avoid the deer and ended up hitting another vehicle or going off the road into a ditch or a tree.

If you are involved in a deer crash, pull off to the side of the road and call law enforcement. Don’t approach the deer if it is still in the road.

The average deer crash costs about $3,995 for repairs to a vehicle, according the latest data from the insurance industry.

Be alert during deer season.