How to Avoid Hitting a Deer While Driving

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The deer population is increasing while the human population is expanding into rural areas, infringing on the deer habitat. It isn't a surprise then that the number of deer-car accidents is increasing, too. The National Safety Council claims there were over 530,000 animal-related collisions in 2003. When human deaths and injuries are added with the damages caused to vehicles along with the cost of insurance claims, car-deer accidents are very costly. Here are some ways to help you avoid hitting a deer when driving.

  • Watch for deer especially before and after sunrise. More deer-car accidents occur during these times of day than any other time.

  • Drive carefully when you are in deer-crossing zones. These signs are posted in areas known to have large populations of deer or in areas where agricultural fields divide from forest areas.

  • Use high beam headlights if there are no oncoming vehicles. High beams will allow the driver to better see the eyes of the deer.

  • Honk the horn when you see deer next to the roadway or highway. This will help scare the deer away from the roadway.

  • Blink your high beams at the deer. Deer seem to be in a trance when they see your headlights. By blinking your headlights at them, it seems to wake them up to the danger heading toward them.

  • Brake. When you see a deer in or near the roadway or highway, stay in your lane of traffic, but brake firmly. Do not lock the brakes up on your vehicle because that can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.

  • Wear your seatbelt. Many people who are injured or killed in deer-car accidents were not wearing their seatbelts.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your vehicle hits a deer, do not try to help the animal. The deer can injure you or further injure itself. It is best to pull your car off the roadway (if possible) and call the police.
  • Collisions involving animals are covered under the comprehensive section of your auto insurance policy. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible to report any damages to your vehicle.

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