One of the more unpredictable and dangerous things drivers tend to forget about is the possibility of hitting a deer. If you live and drive in a city one hundred percent of the time, stop reading this post or come back to it in 20 years when deer are forced into cities, too.
If you live outside the 128 belt however, deer are everywhere and particularly active in the fall.
Perhaps you still think that a collision with a deer is unlikely; according to the National Safety Council there are roughly 530,000 animal-related accidents per year. Accidents with deer are
disproportionately high in October, November and December, both because colder weather
changes feeding patterns, and the rut in late fall, when deer mate and hormones are surging in males and females alike
Also, depending on what type of car you drive, you could be looking at serious damage or bodily injury from a collision with a deer. Our children's drivers’ ed instructor, a former state trooper, warns fledgling drivers about how he and his partner hit a large buck and totaled their police car.
The I.I.I. lists several steps you can take to avoid unnecessary collisions with deer:
- Have you ever heard the expression ‘lone wolf’? Yeah, that doesn’t apply to deer. It is very rare for deer to travel alone; if you see one by the side of the road, slow down and keep your eyes peeled. Others are most likely nearby.
- Pay attention to deer crossing zones; as obvious as this may sound, drivers typically notice road signs like speed limits and tend to ignore deer crossing signs. If a municipality is willing to fork over the money to erect a sign for deer, there must be a significant deer presence. Proceed with caution.
- Drive carefully at dawn and dusk. These are active times for deer, and statistically the most likely time for you to hit one.
- When driving at night, use high-beams when there is no on-coming traffic. Deer on the side of the road will be much easier to see, and their eyes reflect the light brightly, even at a distance.
- If you encounter a deer, blow your horn with one sustained blast to scare them away. Be aware that they might run into the street though, so brake when you do so.
- If there is a deer in your path, brake firmly but DO NOT SWERVE. Minor crashes become serious crashes when drivers swerve into oncoming traffic or off the road.
- Do not rely on "deer whistles" or "deer reflectors." There is no evidence to suggest that these devices are even marginally effective.
Call us or your existing insurance agent if you do hit a deer and report any damage to your car. Animal collisions are included under "comprehensive" coverage (not collision - go figure) with your auto policy.
Learn more about other auto insurance options here.