According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions take place in the United States every year, causing two hundred deaths, thousands of injuries, and more than $3.6 billion in vehicle damage.
While most of these accidents occur October through December due to mating season, they can happen anytime of year. May and June are two other months where drivers need to be especially cautious as one-year-old deer are relocating to new areas.
Here are some tips that can help keep you safe on the roadways:
- Watch the time – While a deer-vehicle accident can happen anytime during the day, most take place at dusk and dawn because that’s when deer are most active.
- Do not swerve – This is an instinct many drivers have. Swerving to avoid the animal is likely to result in moving into oncoming traffic, rolling over, and crashing into a tree. It’s best to hit the deer straight on.
- Watch out for deer crossing signs – You’ll see these yellow signs in areas that are known for high deer traffic.
- Slow down – Deer almost always travel in groups. If a deer crosses the road ahead of you, reduce your speed until you’re past the point of crossing.
- Use high beams when appropriate – When driving at nighttime, use your high beams when appropriate as they may allow you to see a deer a little sooner. Never use high beams when oncoming traffic is within your sight.
What to Do Following a Deer-Vehicle Collision
- Pull to the side of the road if possible and turn on your hazard lights
- Call the police if there are any injuries or property damage
- Never touch the deer because if it’s still alive, it can seriously injure you even though its wounded