How to Avoid Hitting a Deer
Keep an eye out for four-legged creatures who sometimes share the road.
Deer-vehicle crashes can occur any time of year. However, most take place during deer-breeding season, which runs from late fall to early winter.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, insurance claims for crashes involving animals are three times higher in November, and damage claim costs continue to rise. Deer are the primary culprit in car-versus-animal crashes – especially the more serious accidents.
These simple tips can help reduce the chances – or severity – of a deer-vehicle crash:
Fasten your seatbelt. In most states, it's the law. It's also the easiest way to help keep you and your family safe in case of an accident.
Pay attention to deer-crossing signs. The deer may not cross there, but they could dart out of the trees farther down the road.
Be especially alert at dawn and dusk. These are times deer are most active.
If you see one deer, look for its buddies. Deer typically travel single file.
If you see a deer on the road ahead, brake firmly and safely slow your vehicle. Then honk your horn.
If a crash is unavoidable, don't swerve. Studies show the most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or object, or roll over.
If you hit a deer, contact the authorities. You may be legally required to report an accident with significant vehicle damage, depending on state laws.
Just how common are car-animal collisions?
In 2010, American Family received 32,539 such claims totaling $85,499,557, an average of $2,627 per claim.