Deer cause more than 1.6 million motor vehicle crashes in the United States each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and these crashes spike from October to December, when deer activity rises. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, pay close attention to what’s around you, especially when driving through the woods.
Deer don’t usually travel alone, so if you see one in your path, keep your eyes open for the rest of the group. Slow down (or stop) and do your best not to swerve if a deer enters the road—you don’t want to cause one type of accident while trying to avoid another. Also, be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the cars around you, in case you need to brake quickly.
Deer tend to be on the move during dawn and dusk. Since road visibility can be low during these times, try turning on your high-beam headlights to get a better view—just make sure you tone them down when oncoming traffic approaches.
While a set of antlers may look amazing mounted on your wall, you sure don’t want a pair coming through your windshield. Ensuring that your brakes and tires are in good working order can help protect you from damage if you need to react in an instant. You should also check that your seatbelts fasten properly, as buckling up can improve your chances of emerging from an accident unscathed.
Like all animals, deer are unpredictable. While you can take many steps to improve your safety, you can’t defend yourself against every possible scenario. If you do get into an accident with a deer, see if anyone is injured and call the local police and/or medical services. Do not attempt to touch a deer that’s in or near the road. Since there’s likely to be damage to your vehicle, make sure you also contact your insurance agent to report the accident.