Deer season isn’t just for hunters. AAA Insurance warns motorists are most likely to hit a deer between the months of October and December. The Insurance Information Institute advises animals, mainly deer, are involved in more than a million collisions with vehicles each year, resulting in about 200 fatalities.
Motorists can do their part to avoid becoming statistics by sweeping eyes back and forth across the road and watching for signs of animals and their movement. Look to the right and left as well in case an animal is by the side of the road. Motorists are most likely to hit a deer, but occasionally they will run into the side of your car.
Deer are most active between the hours of 5 and 8 in the morning and in the evening. Drivers should use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. Doing so may allow animals to be spotted sooner, and sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
Keep in mind deer rarely travel alone. If you see one, there are likely more nearby. One long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your vehicle. Don’t swerve if a collision can’t be avoided, as that can confuse animals and possibly put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or a fixed object like a utility pole or tree.
Wearing a seatbelt will minimize the likelihood of injury when hitting an animal. If you do strike and wound a deer or other animal, it can be unpredictable and may cause injury. If it is in the middle of the road, call the police immediately. Likewise, if you hit a deer and want to take the meat you will need a law enforcement-issued tag to legally do so.
If you don’t carry comprehensive insurance on your vehicle, consider purchasing a policy, since it covers animal strikes.