Deer on the road

Deer season! 10 Tips On How Do You Avoid Hitting A Deer With A Car?

Hitting a deer while driving – not a pretty sight! I have a very close relative who has totaled TWO brand NEW vehicles over the recent years because where they live, deer runs rampant, especially during the winter months.

I’ve learned a few things from my family member’s mistakes about how to avoid hitting a deer and I’d like to drop some science on you.

Facts & Numbers

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates, there are approximately 1.5 million auto – deer collisions per year, resulting in damage losses of around $1.5 billion.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that the average cost per insurance claim for collision damage is $2,800, with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of damage.Preventing deer accident

When you factor in auto claims involving bodily injury, the average rises to $10,000.

Statistically, most car-deer accidents occur during the winter months, which also coincides with the deer’s mating season.

It has also been noted that more accidents occur during the night, or anytime between dusk and dawn. This is attributed to the fact that deer are a very nocturnal animal and spend most of their time foraging at night.

Now that I’ve given you the facts, here’s the bottom line – when driving during deer season is sure to take every single precaution possible to be on the lookout for these docile, but oftentimes, deadly creatures that cause hundreds of deaths each year.

Here Are Some Tips That Might Help Minimize Your Chances Of Hitting A Deer:

  1. Be on high ‘deer-alert’ from sunset to midnight and during the hours before and after sunrise
  2. When you’re driving in areas where there’s lots of foliage and low hanging branches over the road, trust that those critters are lurking, so be sure to activate your ‘Spidey senses!’
  3. Driving at night? Turn on your high beams (as long as no other vehicle is in front of you), which will illuminate the eyes of a deer on or near the road
  4. See a deer that is too close to the road? Slow way down, blow your horn with one long blast to scare the animal away
  5. If you are driving at night, don’t overdrive your lights!
  6. Hit the brakes, when you see a deer on the road but stay in your lane. When you swerve to avoid hitting a deer you might hit another car or even lose total control of your vehicle
  7. For God’s sake click it! ALWAYS wear your seat belt. Typically, the folks who are seriously injured after hitting a deer were not strapped into their vehicles.
  8. Doodads like whistles or reflectors that are supposed to deter deer! Even though they have not been officially proven to prevent or reduce deer-vehicle collisions, still they won’t worsen the situation.
  9. If you don’t need to drive on poorly lit or rural roads, then, by all means, don’t!
  10. If you DO hit a deer, don’t panic! By all means, don’t get out and touch the animal. If it is still alive, it will probably be frightened and might hurt you or further injure itself. If you can, get your vehicle off the road and call police asap for assistance.

If you have any insurance worries as to whether or not an animal collision is covered, it is, under the comprehensive section of your automotive policy.

Be safe out there!

Jason Clark

15 years of experience as a professional mechanic. Rally car test pilot and advisor.

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