Fall is the peak season for deer activity, which means an increased risk of auto-deer collisions.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are 1.5 million auto-deer collisions annually, resulting in more than $1 billion in damage. At SECURA, deer-auto collisions are the fourth most-common auto claims we see, accounting for 3,200 claims annually.
States with the highest risk for collisions are (in order):
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
How to avoid an auto collision with a deer
- Be more cautious or avoid driving at dawn and dusk because deer mainly travel at these times.
- Follow the posted speed limit, but slow down when you see deer-crossing signs or when you’re in a rural area.
- Avoid swerving to miss a deer. Swerving puts you at an additional risk of losing control of your vehicle.
- Watch the side of the road for eyes, which will reflect the light from your headlights. If you see one deer, be on the lookout for others – deer move in groups.
- Ask your passengers to be on alert, too. Four eyes are better than two.
What to do if you hit a deer
- Bring your car to a safe stop on the side of the road, and turn on your hazard lights so traffic can avoid you and the deer.
- Stay away from the deer and don’t try to move it yourself. The police will contact authorities about handling the deer.
- Call 911 and file an accident report for insurance purposes.