An average of eight dead animals are scooped off roads every day in Grant County, according to data provided to two local groups by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Most of the animals are deer, which means that several hundred deer a year are killed in collisions with vehicles on our roads.

Even more sad, people are killed or seriously injured in these crashes that are often simple to avoid.

The best way to keep from colliding with a deer is to slow down, particularly in the twilight hours before sunrise and sunset, and to keep an eye out at all times for animals near the road.

It's also a good idea to remember that deer don't travel alone. If you see one crossing the road, it's likely another one isn't too far behind.

Slow down when you see an animal near or on the road. High-beam headlights often keep deer off the road, and a long blast of the car horn could frighten them away.

If a deer suddenly is in front of you, brake firmly and try to stay in your lane, if possible.

Many crashes happen when a driver swerves to avoid an animal and either hits another obstacle or loses control of the car and goes off the road.

If you do hit an animal and it's just injured, don't try to tend to it. That's a good way to get bitten or kicked.

If it's dead, try to safely move it off the road so it's not a hazard to other drivers, and then call the State Police or ODOT for removal.

Bridges and underpasses in areas with large animal populations are being explored, and so are flashing signs that will get the attention of drivers when they enter areas where such collisions are likely.

Not only do deer and people suffer injury and death from such collisions, they are also a hit in the wallet.

Not only do ODOT and ODFW have to spend money to educate drivers, explore ways to lessen the number of animal-car crashes and to clean up the mess, but the average cost of an insurance claim from a vehical-animal collision is $2,000.

And not just in Oregon. According to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are more than 1.5 million crashes in the United States involving deer, costing an estimated $1.1 billion in vehicle damage.

In a place like Grant County, where hunting is a big part of life, such crashes diminish the deer herd and hurt our local economy.

Keep in mind that when behind the wheel of any vechicle, simply using common sense will save people and animals.

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