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New York's car-animal crashes peak in autumn


Wed, Oct 25th 2023 05:55 pm

AAA’s top 3 tips for avoiding animal collisions

By AAA of Western and Central New York

New York drivers need to buck up this fall and watch for animals on the roads.

Did you know that animal-related crashes are the fifth-most-common contributing factor to crashes in New York? Such crashes fall just behind driver inattention/distraction, passing/lane changing/improper use, following too closely, and failure to yield right-of-way.

And this is the season for drivers to be cautious!

AAA analyzed New York crash data and found that October, November and December are by far the peak months for animal crashes, notably deer, in the Empire State. There were 36,743 animal-related crashes statewide in 2022 – up 7% from 2021 – that’s equivalent to one animal-related crash every 15 minutes. Of the 36,743 crashes, there were 1,675 injury animal-related crashes and two fatal crashes.

AAA analyzed New York state data, and here are the top 10 counties for animal crashes in 2022:

  • Orange (1,633)
  • Monroe (1,490)
  • St. Lawrence (1,449)
  • Oneida (1,395)
  • Jefferson (1,281)
  • Suffolk (1,216)
  • Ontario (1,201)
  • Onondaga (1,070)
  • Erie (1,052)
  • Ulster (950)

Motorists should be especially vigilant after dark as deer crashes often occur outside daylight hours. Crashes are most common near sunset (6-8 p.m. before the clock changes, 5-7 p.m. after the clock changes).

“Drivers should always be on the lookout for hazards on the road, but the danger of wild animals increases in the fall season,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA Western and Central New York. “Car-deer collisions can be both deadly and costly. Drivers should pay close attention, avoid distractions and scan the road for deer when traveling on area roadways.”

AAA offers the following tips for avoiding, or mitigating, deer crashes:

√ Scan the road. Especially the shoulders of the road in front of you. Deer may dash out from the shoulder or wooded areas adjacent to the road. They often travel in herds.

√ Follow the speed limit. Keeping your speed down will give you more time to respond to unexpected wildlife movements.

√ Can’t avoid a collision? Apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Swerving sharply to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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