If you do all of your driving in the city, you probably don’t have to worry much about deer-related accidents – but, if you drop off and/or pick up clients in wooded areas on occasion, it’s important to keep a watchful eye. Simply put: Both parties lose when car and deer collide, defensive driving dramatically reduces your risks, and these accidents are more likely to happen as cold-weather months approach.
Deer-related accident can be costly, according to said Dean Fisher, Chief Operating Officer for CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. “Nearly 70% of CARSTAR store owners estimate that the average cost of a deer-related collision repair is between $2,500 and $4,999, while some 5% of repairs are between $5,000 and $10,000.”
The National Highway Safety Administration estimates there were 1.5 million deer-related accidents in 2016, costing drivers and insurance companies more than $1 billion in repairs.
Drive Defensively to Avoid Deer Dangers
This year, again some 1.5 million drivers will hit a deer, and November is the peak month for deer-related accidents. But drivers can avoid an accident with a buck by following some smart driving tips this fall and winter.
Early morning and dusk are the worst times for deer accidents, as visibility is limited and deer are frequently on the move. It is important to drive defensively and anticipate the potential for deer in the road, as well as heeding the following tips:
- Use extra caution at dawn and dusk and around golf courses, fields and wooded areas.
- Remember that deer travel in packs – if you spot one, there are likely more behind it.
- Don’t swerve to avoid striking a deer, as that increases the risk of hitting another vehicle or losing control of the car.
- If there is no opposing traffic, use high beams at night to better illuminate deer.
- Don’t rely on devices such as deer whistles, which are attached to the outside of a car, to try to scare off deer with an ultrasonic or high-frequency sound. They have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
- If a deer remains on the highway after you strike it, report the incident to the game commission or a local law enforcement agency, as the deer poses a danger to other motorists. If the deer is still alive, don’t go near it because a wild animal with sharp hooves can inflict injuries.
- If an accident with a deer does occur, it pays to be protected. Many drivers don’t realize that carrying only collision coverage does not cover damage from a deer accident, leaving them with a damaged vehicle and a large repair bill. To fully cover any potential damage, drivers should carry comprehensive insurance that covers such crashes. For those driving an older vehicle who feel their cars aren’t worth the cost of the insurance, it’s smart to keep an “accident fund” if something does occur.