Deer-Car Collisions: What Kind of Damage Can A Deer Do?

deer-car collisions

Deer season runs from October through December. During these three months, deer are on the move, and they are much more frequently seen by or on highways or in suburban backyards. They also get into many more deer-car collisions at this time of year. Those collisions have serious consequences for drivers in terms of injuries and damage to their cars. Here we will discuss the kind of damage a deer can do to a car. 

It’s Hard to Avoid Deer-Car Collisions

Many deer-car collisions happen when it’s dawn, dusk, or dark – which makes them difficult to avoid. Drivers who have these collisions often say the deer appeared in front of their cars without warning, and they couldn’t avoid hitting them because it was too late to stop. Products marketed to stop these collisions, such as deer whistles, fences, and reflectors, have not been proven to work. Turning on your high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic does help you to see better. The light may reflect in the eyes of deer if they cross your path and give you some warning too. 

Your best bet to reduce your risk is to be aware of your surroundings during deer season, especially from sunset to midnight and before and after sunrise. If you come across a sign that says, “Deer crossing,” take it seriously. Either the area is known for deer movement or numerous collisions have occurred on that spot for the sign to have been placed there.

The Damage Deer Can Do

The average insurance claim cost for animal collision damage is $2,800, although when accidents with bodily injuries are factored in, that number increases to $10,000. Hitting a deer at highway speed of 50-60 MPH will seriously damage the front end of a vehicle, particularly a compact car or a sedan. The average size doe can total a car. 

Usually, however, car-deer collision damage means shattered headlights, broken or cracked bumpers, and front end dents that are repairable but expensive to fix. Often the radiator will be punctured and coolant will leak out. If the driver attempts to drive home after the accident and the radiator is damaged, the engine will overheat. This puts it at risk for serious damage after the fact. 

If the deer slides up the hood and slams into the windshield, the potential for bodily injury increases substantially because of both the impact and the blindness it causes the driver. It’s very likely in those types of accidents that the car will run off the road and hit something else besides the deer. 

According to State Farm, one out of 167 drivers filed a claim for damages from a collision involving a deer, elk, moose, or caribou in 2018. This accounts for about four percent of motor vehicle collisions. Those odds double, however, from October to December, and the risk of a collision increases during the dawn and dusk periods. The good news is that car-deer collisions are less frequent than they were a decade ago with deaths from animal collisions having dropped significantly between 2007 and 2016.

If you happen to be involved in a car-deer collision, pull over and call the police. Even if the damage isn’t extensive, you need to report the accident. Document any injuries of driver or passengers. The next step after that is to call your insurance agent and report the damage to your car. If you have comprehensive coverage, the damage should be covered. The accident will not be considered an “at-fault” situation.

We would appreciate if your third step would be to call us at Star Collision (616-364-6222) or Star of Rockford (616-866-2640). We handle damaged vehicles every day and know how to return your vehicle to pre-collision condition in no time. We will work with your insurance company to make the repair process easy and smooth for you. Deer-car collisions are unfortunate bad luck, but they don’t have to keep your car off the road for long. 

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