RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - They're becoming more of a hazard on the road. Now more than ever, deer collisions are up and drivers must be on the lookout.
"If you see one deer, there's probably others following behind," said State Farm Agent, Percy Barnett.
Statistics released Monday from State Farm Insurance company rank Virginia tenth on the list of states where you're most likely to hit a deer. Since July of last year there were 48,303 deer claims in the state for the company alone. Nationwide, however, there were 1,185,884. There are a number of things that play into these statistics.
"Speed and driver inattentiveness," offers Lt. Mark Bands of the Henrico Police Department. "These are things that any police officer can tell you pretty much when it involves citizens driving normally. They are not paying attention."
For drivers these statistics, while alarming, send a message.
"I think it just says a lot about us," said driver, Caitlin Patterson. "I think we should be more educated on what to do when we do see a deer."
Here's what authorities suggest. First, pay attention especially when it's dark and in areas where there's vegetation. Second, always wear your seatbelt. Third, use the middle lane if you're on a 3 lane road. And lastly, but most important, slow down at dusk and nighttime when deer are most active.