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AAA warns that deer are out to get you

AAA warns that deer are out to get you

AAA Mid-Atlantic has issued a timely reminder that Maryland's deer population is in the amorous throes of late autumn, when the sex-besotted beasts are especially likely to jump into the path of your vehicle while in the single-minded pursuit of a mate.

The results can be deadly -- and not just for the deer. In 2007, the last year on recoord, two people died and 458 were injured in 1,962 animal-vehicle crashes, according to the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse.

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According to AAA, the average property damage claim from a deer-vehicle crash was $3,300.

"Keep in mind, with increased development, deer habitat has decreased and deer are interacting and living closer to humans," saiid AAA spokeswoman Ragina Averella.  "Drive defensively and be alert, particularly near wooded areas along local roadways.  Most deer-vehicle collisions occur on two-lane roads bordered by natural habitat."

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AAA  offered the following tips for dealing with deer on the road:

I'll add a few of my own:

•Put away the cell phone. Talking on a cell phone while driving is never a good idea, but it's especially risky when traveling on roads where deer are likely to jump out. Avoiding deer collisions requires your full attention.

•Make a mental note of deer strikes. If you see a dead deer by the side of a road, that tells you something about that road.

•Don't get complacent on highways. Deer don't necessarily avoid interstates and other limited-access highways. The higher the speed, the greater the impact. Take it easy.

•Put your passenger to work. In especially high-risk areas, such as the back roads of the Eastern Shore or areas in transition from rural to suburban, ask a passenger to be alert for deer. Not only does that make that person a second set of eyes, it can deter driver-distracting activities and chatter.

One more thing:  If you're a parent of a teen who is close to getting a driver's license, you have a  great opportunity to raise  consciousness about a hazard they might not hear much about in driver's ed. If the teen is about to get a learner's permit, ask him or her to be your spotter in areas of high deer risk. If the teen is  driving on a permit with you in the car, calmly issue reminders to look out for deer when  in those areas.

The kid might think you're annoying or obsessive, but you'll plant a thought in his or her mind that won't go away. Think of it as Positive Parental Brainwashing.

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