Some drivers may think that the Baltimore Beltway and other Maryland highways are the most dangerous places to drive in the state. It’s true: Sharing the highway with speeding commuters, large commercial trucks, and drivers distracted by cell phones CAN be dangerous. But it’s Maryland’s rural, undivided highways and winding back roads where motor vehicle accidents are more likely to occur.
Now a new report confirms what anyone who drives through rural Maryland already knows: Maryland is among states at the highest risk for auto accidents with wildlife – specifically deer. When mating season is in full swing, Maryland’s deer are on the move, and that means moving in and across our back roads and sometimes even highways.
As experienced Baltimore County, Maryland car accident injury lawyers, we’ve seen firsthand the damage that can occur when a vehicle collides with a large animal. According to a report by State Farm, deer and car accidents rose by 8 percent between 2010 and 2011 due to the economy picking up, more cars on the road, and a booming deer population. In addition, suburban sprawl in Maryland means more homes built in or close to woodlands, where hunting is not allowed. This gives deer a chance to graze without human predators. So more people are literally seeing wildlife such as deer in their own backyards, and on our Maryland roadways.
A front end collision with a deer in Maryland can cause serious damage to a vehicle and injuries or death to driver and passengers. What are your chances of hitting a deer with your car or truck in Maryland? State Farm estimates that Maryland drivers have a 1 in 114 chance of being involved in a motor vehicle accident involving deer. That’s a sobering statistic (e.g., compared with a lower risk state such as California, where the risk is 1 in 1,076). In our experience as Maryland injury attorneys, we’ve seen cars totaled by deer strikes and motorists badly injured or killed when they’ve struck the animals in the road or swerved to avoid an animal that suddenly appeared in the headlights.
Maryland back roads have a number of other hazards that can lead to auto accidents, including farm vehicles in the road and livestock in the road. Be careful driving out there, particularly with deer mating season upon us. Go slow and expect the unexpected. Deer are mostly likely to be on the road between 6 and 9 p.m. If you see one, expect more in the area. State Farm says that November is the peak month for deer strikes nationally, with an estimated 1.23 million motor vehicles in the U.S. involved in deer strikes between July 2011 and June 2012.
Related Maryland Injury Attorney Article:
Maryland Car Accidents with Livestock and Other Animals in the Road (Oct. 2010)
Deer vs. car crashes on the rise as wildlife hits the road
Yahoo! Autos Oct. 24, 2012
Oh, deer! How to avoid crashing into critters with car
The Virginian-Pilot Oct. 24, 2012