WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – As residential developments continue to pop up around the state, the risk of having a run-in with wildlife on the road continues to rise.
According to a N.C. Department of Transportation report, in 2018 there were 18,826 animal-related collisions in North Carolina. Over the past three years, those collisions have killed nine people, injured 2,975 and caused more than $146 million in damages.
For the 16th year in a row, Wake County remains the worst county for animal collisions, with 778 crashes for 2018, just below its total in 2017.
Brunswick and Columbus counties came in the top ten counties for animal collisions, with around 1,300 crashes each and 50 and 61 total injuries, respectively, between 2016 to 2018. Pender County wasn’t far behind, taking 15th on the list of the state’s 100 counties.
Deer are more present on the roadways throughout the fall and into early winter due to the hunting and mating seasons, the department says. Unfortunately, they also tend to travel more at times when it is harder to see them, like dawn and dusk.
The most crashes occur in the evening between 5 p.m. and midnight. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, the time rewind increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling for their morning and afternoon commutes.
DOT officials warn drivers to slow down in areas with deer crossing signs, always wear seat belts and to never swerve to avoid hitting a deer.
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