More than a million motorists file insurance claims for deer-vehicle collisions every year. Deers are especially more common on the road in fall and spring. This is because the deer breed in fall, and there is plenty of food during the spring season. While it’s generally difficult to spot a deer in the dark, hitting a deer could mean expensive auto repair costs, averaging around $4,000.
Here’s what you need to know about deer-vehicle collisions and auto insurance.
Deer Traffic Collisions Are Common
Insurance Information Institute (III) reveals that over 1.5 million deer-related traffic accidents occur every year. Those accidents cause hundreds of deaths and lead to more than $1 billion worth of vehicle damage. The populations of deer vary by location, so it is good to be aware of the deer crossing signs in the areas you’re driving. According to III reports, the states with the highest risk of large wildlife-vehicle collisions include:
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
However, you should look out for animals in your path while driving anywhere.
How to Avoid Deer on the Road?
To avoid hitting deer, you should slow down, especially when driving in wintry or wet conditions and with poor visibility. Here are a few ways to avoid hitting deer while driving:
- Drive slowly – It’s easier to react to a deer on your path when you’re driving slowly. If you’ve seen a deer, slow down when passing because the animal can be unpredictable.
- Watch out for multiple deer – Deer typically live in packs, so if you see one, others may be close.
- Drive on the center lanes – You’re more likely to spot deer on the road’s edge than on fast lanes. If it’s legal and safe, stick to the center lanes to avoid deer encounters.
- Scare deer off the road – If you spot deer on the road, you should honk to scare them away. Leaving them on the road could lead to another driver hitting them. Note that shining your headlights on a deer may startle and blind it, causing it to stay put instead of moving off the road.
What If You Hit a Deer?
In case you hit a deer, do not panic. Just pull your vehicle to the side and handle it like any other accident. If someone gets injured, call the emergency line. Moreover, even if you believe the deer is deceased, stay away from it because it could still be alive and confused or injured. Getting close to the deer could lead to you or the deer being injured further. Instead, call law enforcement or local wildlife authorities and inform them about the deer’s location. Notify them if the deer is in a dangerous location on the road. If your vehicle is damaged, note the damage, report the accident, and if necessary, file a claim with your insurance company. Your insurer will compensate you based on your policy’s terms.
Stay Focused and Alert While Driving
While behind the wheel, stay alert and focused at all times. By being aware of your surroundings while driving, you will be able to spot wildlife and other potential hazards.
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