We are coming into that time of year where the deer start becoming unpredictable during mating season. In the body shop business there is truly something we call “deer season.” Deer season happens in autumn and will go on for a few months. The deer become completely unpredictable, once they get mating on their mind. Once the females are in heat the male deer totally lose their minds. Luckily there are some things you can do to avoid the deer involved auto accident.
The most recent statistics on deer related auto accidents has them at over 1.25 million deer related accidents per year. With the deer population on the rise, these accidents don’t look to go down anywhere soon. If you are driving in an area that is populated with love sick deer, you need to take extra precautions to make sure you, your passengers and your car are safe.
Deer related accidents are frequent and can even be deadly, with over 150 fatalities and 10,000 injury accidents caused by these deer accidents in the United States each year. However, the majority of injuries and deaths are due to driver’s reaction to the deer darting in front of them not the actual deer impact.
Before I get into the best ways to stay safe, it’s best to better understand that trying to avoid the accident is considerably more dangerous than just applying your brakes firmly and bringing your car to a stop. Avoiding the accident is when you bring in the potential to hit another car, hit a tree, or flip your car. As cruel as it may sound, for the safety of you and your passengers, it’s safer to just stay the course.
How to avoid a deer related auto accident?
1. Wear your seatbelt- Wearing your belt won’t prevent an accident, but it will sure help if you get pushed off the road or into oncoming traffic. Seat belts are proven to cut the potential of death in an accident by 45% and the chance of injury by 50%.
2. Stay alert at sunset and after dark- Statistically the chances of a deer involved auto accident go up significantly as the sun goes down. It’s mostly because you can’t see them as easily as you lose light. However, the deer also move around more when they feel safe in the darker hours.
3. Deer travel in groups- All year long deer tend to be in groups, but during mating/rutting season, you can expect that where there is a doe, you’ll likely find an amorous buck in pursuit.
4. Watch for deer crossing signs- These deer crossing signs are put there for a reason, deer tend to stay in the same areas. These areas are marked because they are known danger areas.
5. Honk your horn if you see a deer- It has been proven that blaring your horn is one of the best detractors to alert deer to you are in the area. Deer are very timid animals and even though they may have lost their mind for rutting, they won’t want anything to do with you or your honking car.
If you’ve been in a deer related accident.
Of course we never want to see anyone in an accident, but in reality, they happen. Here are some helpful hints if you are in an accident.
1. Pull over as soon possible in a safe place.
2. Turn on your hazard lights.
3. Stay back away from the deer. An injured animal can be very dangerous.
4. Call 911 if anyone is hurt.
5. Contact your insurance agent or insurance company.
Tow vs driving your car
You’ll have to assess the damage. If you have broken lights, leaking fluid or loose parts that can’t be secured, it’s best to call a tow truck.
What are the insurance implications of hitting a deer?
Your insurance should cover you under comprehensive or collision coverage. There are some distinctions that come into play if you report that you hit a deer vs the deer hit you. The insurance claims handler can help you through that. From my understanding, if the deer hits you there is no deductible. If you hit a deer, there is a deductible. I’m not the expert though, always talk to your agent.
If you have been in a deer related auto accident in Northern California and you are near any Collision Pros location in Auburn, Chico, Paradise, Loomis, Red Bluff or Woodland, stop by and we’ll be happy to help you.