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Fall means more deer on the road: 4 ways time of day, month and year raise your risk of crashes

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Fall means more deer on the road: 4 ways time of day, month and year raise your risk of crashes

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(NEXSTAR) – Deer cause over 1 million motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. each year, resulting in more than US$1 billion in property damage, about 200 human deaths, and 29,000 serious injuries.

In Autumn the risk of hitting deer on rural roads and highways is rising, especially around dusk and during a full moon. Property damage insurance claims average around $2,600 per accident, and the overall average cost, including severe injuries or death, is over $6,000.

While avoiding deer – as well as moose, elk, and other hoofed animals, known as ungulates – can seem impossible if you’re driving in rural areas, there are certain times and places that are most hazardous, and so warrant extra caution.

Transportation agencies, working with scientists, have been developing ways to predict where deer and other ungulates enter roads so they can post warning signs or install fencing or wildlife passages under or over the roadway. Just as important is knowing when these accidents occur.

My former students Victor Colino-Rabanal, Nimanthi Abeyrathna, and I have analyzed over 86,000 deer-vehicle collisions involving white-tailed deer in New York state using police records over a three-year period. Here’s what our research and other studies show about timing and risk:

The risk of hitting a deer varies by:

  • Time of day
  • Day of the week
  • Monthly lunar cycle
  • Seasons of the year

These accident cycles are partly a function of driver behavior – they are highest when traffic is heavy, drivers are least alert and driving conditions are poorest for spotting animals. They are also affected by deer behavior. Not infrequently, deer-vehicle accidents involve multiple vehicles, as startled drivers swerve to miss a deer and collide with a vehicle in another lane, or they slam on the breaks and are rear-ended by the vehicle behind.

In analyzing thousands of deer-vehicle collisions, we found that these accidents occur most frequently at dusk and dawn when deer are most active and drivers’ ability to spot them is poorest. Only about 20% of accidents occur during daylight hours. Deer-vehicle accidents are eight times more frequent per hour of dusk than daylight, and four times more frequent at dusk than after nightfall.

During the week, accidents occur most frequently on days that have the most drivers on the road at dawn or dusk, so they are associated with work commuter driving patterns and social factors such as Friday “date night” traffic.

Over the span of a month, the most deer-vehicle accidents occur during the full moon, and at the time of night that the moon is brightest. Deer move greater distances from cover and are more likely to enter roadways when there is more illumination at night. The pattern holds for deer and other ungulates in both North America and Europe.

Over a year, by far the highest numbers of deer-vehicle accidents are in autumn, and particularly during the rut when bucks search and compete to mate with does. In New York state, the peak number of deer-vehicle accidents occurs in the last week of October and the first weeks of November. There are over four times as many deer-vehicle accidents during that period than during spring. Moose-vehicle accidents show a similar pattern.

That high-risk period is also when daylight saving time ends – it happens on Nov. 7, 2021, in the U.S. Shifting the clock one hour back means more commuters are on the road during the high-risk dusk hours. The result is more cars driving at the peak time of day and during the peak time of the year for deer-vehicle accidents.

Overall, given that most U.S. states and more than 70 countries have seasonal “daylight saving” clock shifts, elevated ungulate-vehicle accident rates caused by clock shifts may be a widespread problem.

There is a longstanding debate about the benefit of a daylight-saving clock shift, given how it disrupts humans’ circadian rhythms, causing short-term stress and fatigue. The risk of deer-vehicle accidents may be another reason to reconsider whether clock shifts are worthwhile.

Deer still cross the Roads at any time.

It’s important to remember that deer-vehicle accidents can occur at any time of day or night, on any day of the year – and that deer can show up in urban areas as well as rural ones.

The insurance company State Farm found that on average, U.S. drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of hitting an animal, with much higher rates in states such as West Virginia, Montana, and Pennsylvania. Over the 12 months ending in June 2020, State Farm counted 1.9 million insurance claims for collisions with wildlife nationwide. Around 90% of those involved deer.

Where deer or other ungulates are likely to be present, drivers should always be alert and cautious, especially at dawn, dusk, on bright moonlit nights, and during the fall rut.

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St. Mary’s antique mall suffered heavy damage in Sunday’s tornado

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St. Mary’s antique mall suffered heavy damage in Sunday’s tornado

ST. MARY, Mo. – The town of St. Mary, Missouri is about 80 miles south of St. Louis and it was hit hard by Sunday night’s tornado.

7th Street in St. Mary is the epicenter of the tornado damage there. Debris is scattered everywhere along the street. St. Mary’s antique mall suffered extensive damage.

Several homes along 7th street are also severely damaged or even destroyed.

The storm hit St. Mary at approximately 8 p.m. Sunday.

“There was not a whole lot of sounds and then everything just went still. I do remember everything going still,” St. Mary resident Nick Grogg said. “I was on the phone with dad. He said something bad is about to happen. That’s when I went downstairs. I didn’t think it was going to be anything like this.”

There were no serious injuries in the area due to the tornado.

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Check your onions again: FDA announces more recalls

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Check your onions again: FDA announces more recalls

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(WEHT) – Earlier this week, the CDC announced that fresh whole onions were the cause of a salmonella outbreak that traced to 37 states across the U.S. and were distributed by ProSource Inc.

The company imported the onions from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed them to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the United States. ProSource said the possibly tainted onions were last imported Aug. 27, but because of the vegetable’s long shelf life they may still be on shelves.

Now, two more recalls have been announced involving onions. The FDA is urging people to throw out any onions from HelloFresh and EveryPlate received July 7 through Sep. 8. The companies say they have been informed by one of their suppliers that they’re voluntarily recalling onions due to potential salmonella.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating the nationwide salmonella outbreak that has been linked to onions from Mexico. More than 600 people have reportedly gotten sick; no one has died.

If you are experiencing any symptoms, health officials encourage you to contact your healthcare provider immediately. Click here for more information from the FDA about this supplier recall and the potentially related symptoms.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

Could the Broncos be getting a new quarterback again?

With a week left before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, one oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance at landing embattled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

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