North America’s Collision Repair Experts Weigh in on the Hefty Costs of Hitting a Deer
It’s the annual battle of the bumpers versus the bucks, the does against the doors. Both parties lose when car and deer collide, but a measure of defensive driving can reduce the risks.
The frequency and severity of deer-related accidents are growing as quickly as the deer population in some markets. And, with the cold-weather months providing peak season for deer-vehicle crashes, this risk is on the rise.
A recent survey by State Farm found that U.S. drivers are just as likely to have a claim involving a collision with deer, elk or moose than they were last year. The odds drivers will have a claim from hitting one of those animals is 1 out of 169, the same as it was in 2014. An estimated 1.25 million claims happened in the past year resulting from these collisions.
Drive Defensively to Avoid Deer Dangers
This year, some 1.5 million drivers will hit 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.
Here are some tips to reduce the deer danger:
- 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.