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Monday, May 27, 2024

NCDOT: Vehicle-animal crashes on the rise statewide, Brunswick in top 10

Deer make up a majority of the state's vehicle-animal crashes, which have seen an uptick in recent years, according to NCDOT. (Port City Daily photo/File)
Deer make up a majority of the state’s vehicle-animal crashes, which have seen an uptick in recent years, according to NCDOT. (Port City Daily photo/File)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY—Animal-vehicle collisions have increased across North Carolina, according to a new report released by the N.C. Department of Transportation Monday.

Brunswick County is ranked sixth out of the state’s 100 counties for animal-vehicle collisions between 2017 and 2019.

These types of collisions have increased in the county by 27% since 2012, with 480 crashes last year, according to the report.

Animal collisions are up statewide due to increased development, which pushes animals out of their habitats, according to NCDOT. Deer make up the majority (90%) of animal-vehicle collisions. Statewide, these crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800, and caused more than $156 million in property damage between 2017 and 2019.

Collisions are known to increase during the last three months of the year, according to NCDOT, because crashes in this time-frame tend to make up half the annual total.

Pender County ranks 16th with 331 animal crashes last year, and New Hanover County ranks 69th with 85 crashes on the state’s list.

The state’s westernmost counties tend to have the least amount of animal crashes due to sparser populations and roads.

Almost a majority of crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. The end of Daylight Savings on Nov. 1 increases the chance of deer being hit on the roadways as more drivers travel in the dark, according to NCDOT.

Below are tips NCDOT provided drivers to protect themselves from animal collisions:

  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Keep a safe distance between vehicles
  • Drive slow in areas with posted deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas near dusk and night.
  • Be mindful while driving near areas where deer are more likely to travel, including near bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches.
  • When possible, drive with high beams on and look out for eyes reflected in the headlights
  • Look out for other deer when one is spotted; deer often travel in groups
  • Blow the horn with a long blast if you spot a deer near the road.
  • Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid colliding with a deer.
  • If you do strike a deer with your vehicle, try to get your vehicle off the road, call 911, and don’t touch the animal. Injured or wounded deer can further injure itself or others.

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