Deer: adorable, fast and dangerous

In some way, we probably know somebody who, unfortunately, has hit one of these cute creatures with their vehicle.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year. This can cause a significant amount of damage to your vehicle, around $2,800 per claim and could add up to around $10,000 total when adding in the costs related to bodily injury. 

In some cases, it can have even more catastrophic results, to the tune of 150 lives lost annually. 

Eight tips that could help you avoid deer collisions:

  1. Pay extra attention when you're driving between sunset and midnight, and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
  2. Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland.
  3. When you see one deer, prepare for more. Deer seldom run alone, so others may be nearby. 
  4. When it is safe to do so, use your high-beam headlights when driving at night, and when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the raodway, which could help make them easier to spot.
  5. Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast, which could help to frighten the deer away from the road.
  6. Brake firmly 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, but end up hitting another vehicle, or losing control of their vehicle instead.
  7. Always wear your seat belt. 
  8. Don't rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not been proven to reduce collisions.

If you've unfortunately hit a deer, don't touch it. You never know what they'll do when they're frightened or wounded. Instead, get to a safe place, and call the police.


State Auto Insurance makes no representations or guarantee as to the correctness or sufficiency of any information contained herein, nor guarantees results based upon use of this information. State Auto does not warrant that reliance upon this document will prevent accident and losses or satisfy federal, state and local codes, ordinances and regulations. The reader assumes entire risk as to use of this information.

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