Did you know that the highest rate of deer collisions occurs between October and December? This is the migration and mating season for deer, so they are likely to be moving at a more frequent pace.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are one million car accidents involving deer each year in the United States, resulting in close to 200 deaths and an additional 10,000 injuries. The financial costs are also high, as deer collision damages to vehicles total upward of $1 billion in costs a year. On average, a vehicle collision with a deer will cost an insured more than $3,000 in damages. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) attributes the increase in deer-vehicle collisions to the fact that more roads are being built through wildlife habitats, which causes deer to be displaced from their natural habitat.
How to avoid becoming a statistic
- Stay alert and look for signs: The easiest way to avoid crashes is to stay awake and aware of your surroundings while driving – a best practice in any season. Drivers should also look for signs regarding deer crossing, as studies have found that crash risk can be reduced by up to 34% when signs are posted.
- Recognize deer patterns: You’re most likely to see a deer at dawn or at dusk, and if you do see a deer, always slow down. Deer typically travel in groups so if you see a deer crossing alone, you should wait a few minutes – more deer are likely to follow.
- Don’t swerve to avoid a deer collision: If a crash with a deer becomes inevitable, it is better to apply the brake hard and fast rather than try to swerve in another direction; this could cause a more serious accident with another vehicle, guardrail or tree. Brake firmly, holding onto the steering wheel, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.
If you are involved in a crash, make sure to notify police officials and your insurance agency immediately. It is important to fill out the accident forms completely and accurately.