It’s Deer Season!
The past 2 years of heavy rainfall in many parts of the U.S. have led to an increase in the deer population making it more likely for auto/deer collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 occupant deaths, tens of thousands of injuries and over $1 billion in vehicle damage. We have compiled a list of tips to get you over the hill and through the woods to grandma’s house safely this holiday season!
Defensive driving tips to avoid hitting a deer:
- The highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions are from sunset to midnight and the hours around sunrise.
- Remember Deer seldom run alone. If you see one deer, others are typically nearby.
- Drive vigilant when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population such as agricultural and forestland.
- Scan both sides of the road! Some evidence shows that drivers tend to watch the side of the road next to the passenger seat more than their own side, making a false assumption that only one side is a problem.
- Drive in the center lane if you are traveling on a 3 lane road, or center the car as much as possible if it is a 2 lane road.
- When driving at night, be sure to use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic.
- Brake firmly, blow your horn solidly and put on your hazard lights when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their car.
- Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers buckle up too. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
- If you hit a deer, don’t touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. Best practice is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.