As hunting season gets underway in most areas, the number of deer-related vehicular accidents always increases. Even the best drivers can experience a collision with a deer, because the animals are unpredictable, move quickly, and don’t exactly obey our traffic laws. No one is immune to an accident involving a deer.
Keep these tips in mind to lessen the chances that you will hit a deer while driving:
- Be extra vigilant during the hours deer are most active – early morning and late afternoon
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Don’t speed, especially on curvy or dimly lit roads with limited visibility
- As always, don’t drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Watch for the reflection of your headlights in deer eyes on the sides of roads
- If you see movement in tall grass, bushes, or trees on the side of the road, slow down
- If you spot a deer on the side of the road, blow your horn to frighten it away
- Remember that deer are blinded by headlights. Therefore a deer standing in the middle of the road may “freeze” rather than respond to your approaching vehicle.
- “Deer Crossing” signs exist for a reason – this indicates an area where deer commonly cross the road. Be mindful of these signs and slow down accordingly.
If a collision with a deer is imminent, do not swerve! By trying to save the deer or your vehicle’s bumper, you can actually cause a much more serious accident by losing control, rolling your car, or colliding with other vehicles. This puts you and other drivers at far more risk of injury. Brake as hard as you can, but allow your vehicle to hit the deer rather than risk an even more serious accident.
If you do hit a deer, resist the impulse to attempt emergency, amateur veterinary care. Injured animals are usually confused, in pain, and quickly disappear into nearby woods. Report significant road debris to the police.
As always, remember to keep your auto insurance up to date. A collision with a large animal such as a deer can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Remember to select a deductible amount that you can easily cover in the event of an accident, so that your car can be quickly and your ability to replace it in the event of significant damage.