Fall is mating season for deer, so you may see more deer around the next few months. As they travel around more looking for food and mates, you are at a higher risk of hitting one on the road. Take precautions this fall and look for deer on the road. Following these steps may keep you safer and prepared for if you come across a deer on the road:
Deer-related accidents can be expensive. Hitting a deer can total your car or warrant extensive repairs. Not only does hitting deer damage your car, but it can also seriously injure yourself, your passengers, and others on the road.
Deer are most active at dusk and dawn, so be careful when driving during these times. Drive slower during these peak deer hours. Driving slow gives you more time to react to your surroundings. You also have reduced visibility during these times, so slower is always better.
You can use your high beams if you are the only car on the road. If you see an oncoming vehicle, turn off your high beams! Your high beams, also known as the “brights,” will give you about double the visibility of your normal headlights. They will help you see far enough head and give you extra time to react to deer on the road or on the side of the road.
You’ll most likely see a sign where there are known high-traffic deer areas. These warning signs are there for a reason! If you see a yellow sign with an image of a deer, that is a deer crossing sign. These let you know that deer frequently travel across the road. The signs exist because of previous accidents, sightings, or a high deer population. When you see a deer crossing sign, slow down and keep your eyes peeled.
Deer follow their instinct to find food and mates. Over time they may grow used to the roads and the traffic noise. Deer have often been spotted grazing in fields or on the side of roads or highways in rural areas. Have you ever heard the phrase “like a deer in the headlights?” They tend to get scared and freeze in the middle of the road.
Scared deer may become confused and run towards oncoming traffic rather than away from it. This is why you should look out for deer—they may jump out of nowhere. Even if you see a deer jump out of nowhere, you must stay in your lane and use your brakes.
Most fatal car accidents don’t happen with the deer, but because the driver swerves away. There’s a possibility the driver will swerve into oncoming traffic or off the road. Swerving can confuse the deer even more, and the deer may follow the headlights and run towards the vehicle. If you see a deer on the road, stay in your lane and hit the brakes!
You should always wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers are wearing theirs, as well. Seatbelts are there for a reason—they save lives. If you don’t want you or your loved ones to fly from the vehicle after a sudden crash, then ensure everyone is secure and properly fastened. Seatbelts secure you and keep you in the vehicle. Secure heavy objects– they can also turn into a projectile in the event of a crash or sudden stop.
Even if you’re prepared and do everything right, there’s still a chance you may hit a deer. If you hit a deer, check that you and your passengers are safe. Get the vehicle off the road and call the police for help. Set up reflective traffic cones, flares, or flags, and turn on your hazards to alert other drivers of the accident. Don’t try to touch or move the deer—it may still be alive and attack you out of fear. Police train for these situations, so let them know if the deer is still on the road so the deer can be properly removed.
Have your car towed to the shop to have the damage assessed. Call your insurance provider to report the damage to your vehicle.
Make sure your auto insurance includes comprehensive coverage for these types of accidents! Talk to your local insurance agent for more information.