Oh Deer!: Avoiding Deer-Car Collisions
As you head out on the roads this fall, it is important to keep an eye out for other drivers, slick roads, as well as other hazards, like deer. Each year, the majority of deer-vehicle collisions happen between October and December, which is deer mating and migration season. While deer are generally not aggressive, it is important that drivers in the Western United States appreciate that deer pose a very legitimate threat to cars on the road.
How to Avoid a Deer-Vehicle Collision
The deer collision rate has exploded in recent years as more and more of these otherwise harmless animals run onto the road and into the path of vehicles. The average deer can easily weigh 100 pounds and some males may reach 150 pounds. A car going 60 to 70 mph that runs into an animal of that size could result in serious damage to the vehicle and in some cases, injuries to the driver and passengers.
There are a number of products on the market that claim to help with deer car accident prevention. These products, including deer whistles and special reflectors, may sound promising, but have not been proven effective. As a driver, the best way to prevent a deer-car collision is to be aware and drive cautiously.
While there is no way to 100% prevent a deer-vehicle collision, there are a few defensive driving tips that may help you to anticipate and prevent a deer collision:
Mind the Sides of the Road After Sunset
Deer are the most active between sunset and midnight, as well as during the hours just before and after sunrise. If you are on the road during these times, make sure to scan the sides of the road for any deer.
Look Out for Deer-Crossing Signs
When you notice a sign for a deer-crossing zone, slow down accordingly. These signs are placed in areas known to contain a higher population of deer.
Keep Herd Mentality in Mind
Deer almost always move in groups and are not likely to travel solo. If you see one deer, slow down and proceed with extreme caution, as there may be other deer nearby.
Make Use of Your High Beams
When it is dark, it can be difficult to spot deer on the sides of the road. Use your high beams at night, as this will make it easier to see the illuminated eyes of deer off in the distance.
Use Your Horn
Deer may be large in size, but they are also generally timid. If you see a deer that is too close for comfort, you may be able scare it away with a prolonged blast of your horn.
Stay in Control
Many deer-car collisions occur when drivers swerve to avoid deer and lose control or even hit another vehicle. If a deer crosses your path while driving, press the brake firmly but stay in your lane.
Make Sure You Are Insured in the Event of an Accident with a Deer
If you do hit a deer, move your vehicle to the side of the road and call 911 as soon as possible. It is important that you stay in the car and do not attempt to help the animal, as you could risk being injured by it. Once you and your vehicle are safe, make sure to report the claim to your insurance provider.
At Grange Insurance Association, we offer comprehensive automobile insurance that will cover you in the event of an accidental deer-car collision. As you take the road this fall, make sure you can do so with peace of mind. Contact your local independent agent today to learn more about our car insurance in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Wyoming, and Colorado.