Tips to Avoid Hitting a Deer with Your Car
If you’ve ever come close to hitting a deer, then you probably still remember that stressful event to this day. The racing heart, the adrenaline, the feeling of not being sure you can avoid an accident. It’s a scary situation.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1.5 million deer-related vehicle accidents in 2016. This cost drivers and insurance companies more than $1 billion in collision and dent repairs.
To help try and keep you safe, we’ve listed some tips to avoid hitting a deer with a car. Follow these tips and stay alert to help keep safe.
Tips on avoiding a car accident with a deer
- Be alert during the dawn and dusk hour when deer are most active.
- Most deer/car collisions occur during fall and early summer.
- If you see one deer, watch for others. They often travel in packs.
- Deer can take off suddenly. Don’t assume a standing deer won’t take off running.
- Slow down! Even a few mph slower could give you more time to react.
- Be alert when driving through an area where deer may be.
- When you see a sign for a deer crossing warning, take it seriously.
- Slow down around curves in areas where deer are known to occur.
- Be aware that deer often use woodlots, fencerows, field edges or areas near water.
- Scan the roadsides for the “eyeshine” of deer ( the reflection of headlights in the deers eyes).
- Honk your horn and flash your lights if you see a deer in the road.
- If deer are near the road, tap the brakes or use the emergency flashers to alert other drivers.
- Stay calm. Use your breaks but don’t swerve wildly. Deer can cause accidents without you hitting them.
- Don’t tailgate. Many severe deer accidents are caused when another vehicle becomes involved.
Related: Winter driving tips
When do most deer accidents occur?
- Dawn: 5am to 8am
- Dusk: 5pm to 10pm
- Late fall: October, November, and December
- Early summer: May and June
You need to keep alert when you are in an area where deer may be (in a rural area, near a forest, field or farm), especially
What to do if you hit a deer
- Pull over and move your car to a safe area if possible.
- Keep your car and yourself out of the roadway and a potential accident with another car.
- Call the police. Let them know if the deer is blocking traffic and creating a threat to other drivers.
- If the collision results in injury or property damage, you may need to fill out a police accident report.
- Document the accident for your insurance. If possible, take photos of the road surroundings, damage to the vehicle, and any injuries.
- Stay away from the deer. An injured and frightened deer could hurt you with their strong legs and hooves.
- Inspect your vehicle before assuming it is still drivable.
- Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Check for leaking fluids, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won’t latch and any other safety hazards. If your car might be unsafe in any way, call for a tow truck.
- Contact your insurance agent.
Average cost of a deer-vehicle collision
The average cost of repairs for a car hitting a deer is between $3,500 and $5,000. According to State Farm Insurance, the national average insurance claim is $4,100.
Do you have to pay a deductible if you hit a deer?
That depends on your insurance policy. Rumors that you don’t have to pay a deductible because hitting a deer is “an act of God” are not true. Damage to your vehicle from hitting a deer is covered under the comprehensive coverage portion of your insurance, sometimes referred to as “other than collision”. Some companies offer a zero deductible option on comprehensive, but you will pay a higher price for that option. If you have only insured your vehicle for the minimum amount of coverage required to meet state law, then it is likely you will have to pay a deductible.
Need your car repaired after an accident?
Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. Serving the local area including Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan, Chicago and the southwest Chicago suburbs.