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Can car deer whistles prevent collisions?

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By John Shindlebower

It’s a common sight this time of year to see dead deer on the side of the road, victims of collisions with motorists. While often fatal for the deer, it can be very dangerous to drivers and very costly for motorists as deer collisions are one of the most common insurance claims this time of year.
Tim Oliver, of Spencer County Insurance, said his office processed at least three claims on Monday, and this is a busy time of the year for such events.
So is there any way to prevent these collisions? Spencer County Bill McClain swears by the inexpensive deer whistles, sometimes referred to as animal alarms, that can be placed on the front of vehicles.
“I’ve used them for 20 years,” he said, noting that he travels often along the Gene Snyder and KY 155, where deer carcases can frequently be seen. “I’ve never had an accident.”
“A lot of times as the deer comes to the side of the road, they’ll turn and go the other way from you. I’m a firm believer in them,” said McClain.
Studies are inconclusive as to the effectiveness of the whistles, with some research questioning their benefit. However, the devices were sold out at the Taylorsville AutoZone as of Monday, and an employee there said he’s heard other customers vouch for their effectiveness.
Oliver suggested motorists should also drive cautiously, especially after dark, and be ever watchful for deer standing near the shoulder and sides of the road, and be extra careful when coming up on a curve.
While the evidence supporting the deer whistles seems to be mostly anecdotal, the devices are relatively inexpensive. With a price tag of under $10, it might be a small financial risk to help prevent a much larger financial loss.