It is that time of year again! Between the months of October and December, deer are more active; thus increasing the chances you may be involved in a car collision involving a deer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are 1.5 million auto accidents involving deer each year in the United States. The result is approximately 150 human deaths, over 10,000 injuries to people, and about $1 billion worth of auto damages. Below are 7 safety tips to help you avoid a deer collision.
1. Watch for Deer Crossing Signs
Typically there are deer crossing signs visible in areas that deer frequent; however, just because there are no signs, doesn’t mean there are no deer. Deer can be anywhere and you should always stay on the lookout. If you see a deer crossing sign, be extra alert and slow down.
2. Slow Down if You Witness Others Cars Reducing Speed
If you are traveling on the road and suddenly you notice flashing lights, horns honking or vehicles slowing down, it usually means something is going on and you need to be warned. With this in mind, go ahead and slow down, use precautions and stop if necessary.
3. Drive Defensively
Any time you operate a vehicle, it is imperative that you take precautions to avoid accidents and be prepared to take action if something comes into your path, like a deer or another animal. Travel at a safe speed so that you are able to slow down or brake quickly if necessary. Make sure you and your passengers are wearing seatbelts and if someone does see a deer in the area, have them to calmly alert you to prevent panic.
4. Watch Your Surroundings
You should always be aware of your surroundings when traveling on the roads to avoid having an accident with a deer, especially this time of the year. Be aware that if you see one deer, it usually means there are more in the vicinity. Some helpful hints when driving include:
- Pay close attention to the sides of the roads
- Pay attention to the shoulder of the roads
- Closely look at the median areas/strips/ditches (especially in grassy areas)
- Look in the middle of the road or intersecting road
5. Stay Alert Especially at Evening and Early Dawn
The most common times for deer to be mobile are typically from early evening to midnight and again before sunrise. These times of day can be tricky due to poor lighting, so follow these safety tips:
- Use high beams if possible
- Make sure your windshield is clean. Having a glare on it will prevent proper vision onto the roadway and surrounding areas
- Travel at a safe speed or right below the speed limit during these times
- Travel in the middle lane when possible
- Look for the deer’s reflective eyes, as they will glow during this time of day/night making them easier to see
6. Be on the Lookout for Deer At All Times
You may think that deer only reside in rural, wooded areas, never venturing into the city, but they do! In fact, many deer wander into the city areas in search of food and could be found most anywhere. With this in mind, DRIVE CAREFULLY. Assume you do run across a deer directly into your path of travel; keep in mind that the deer does not know to avoid cars/traffic. In fact, they have been known to charge a stopped or moving vehicle, especially if they are panicked. Honking your horn may scare the deer off if you see the deer way ahead of you and there are no other vehicles around; however using your horn or “deer whistles” may only frighten and confuse the deer, enticing it to come towards your vehicle.
7. To Swerve or Not to Swerve
Let’s say that you have followed all of the above safety tips and suddenly there is a deer right in your path of travel. Stay in your lane, apply brakes securely and DO NOT SWERVE! You may be surprised to learn that trying to avoid the deer and swerving into the oncoming lane may cause more accidents.
Contact our office at 866-869-3335 for all of your questions regarding auto accidents involving deer. Drive safely!