In the United States, about 1.9 deer-related traffic accidents occur each year.

Insurance companies claim that more than of insured losses a year are due to damage caused by car accidents.

While many other animals are involved in vehicle collisions, most of them are deer and some accidents have been fatal.

A study estimated that deer were involved in more than 90% of animal-vehicle collisions between 1994 and 2021.These data concerned 23 states. The most at-peril state is West Virginia, where 1 in 27 people in the state will experience a deer collision, while the least at-peril state is Washington, DC, where only 1 in 816 people would experience a deer accident.

What makes deer such a high-peril animal?

“Caught like a deer in the headlights.”

Have you ever heard of this expression? It is believed that the original line originally concerned a rabbit and the headlights of a train, not a deer and a car headlight, but the connotation remains the same.

Deer exposed to headlights have been known to freeze in the middle of the road because they don’t know what to do and get confused, with some even running directly into the headlights for the same reason.

Headlights confuse deer because of their eyes.

Deer are twilight creatures, said deer biologist David Yancy, which means they are most active at dusk – the period before sunrise and after sunset.

For this reason, the eyes of deer have evolved to allow them to see in very low light conditions. The scientists explained that deer have more sticks than cones in their eyes, the sticks are light receptor, while the cones are color detector, which means that they have superior night vision.

When the bright headlights of a car fall into the eyes of a deer, they are temporarily blinded and take a while for their eyes to get used to this increased brightness, rooting them in their place.

Take, for example – or maybe you’ve already experienced this phenomenon when you’re lying on your bed with the lights off and you’re having trouble sleeping, you pick up your phone but forget to turn down the brightness and it numbs you a little because your pupils have dilated to adapt to the darkness.

“When a beam of headlights hits fully dilated eyes to capture as much light as possible, the deer cannot see at all and freeze until the eyes can adapt. “You don’t know what to do, so you don’t do anything,” Mr. Yancy suggested, the New York Times wrote.

Deer and car accidents peak in the fall, although they still occur all year round. If you intend to travel at dusk or at any time, especially in autumn, always be careful and always be careful when driving.