Deer Safety: Tips for Avoiding an Accident

While you’re on the road enjoying the fall colors, make sure to keep your eyes on alert for deer as well. While deer crashes occur year round, the peak season occurs from September – November during mating season when deer are more active.

In 2018, there were over 20,000 vehicle deer crashes in Wisconsin. 515 motorists were injured and there were 4 fatalities. Being cautions and prepared can prevent you from being one of these statistics.

Follow these 4 safety tips to reduce your chances of hitting a deer:  

  1. Slow down and keep your eyes on the road — especially during the early morning, late afternoon and at night. Deer are more active at dawn and dusk.   
  2. Brake, don’t swerve. Swerving to avoid an animal can put you at risk for hitting another vehicle or losing control of your car. It can also confuse the animal as to which way to go. Instead, just slow down as quickly and safely as you can. Your odds for surviving an accident are better when hitting an animal than hitting another car.  
  3. “Where there’s one, there’s usually more” often holds true. Deer travel in groups, so if you see one run across the road, slow down and expect others to follow.  
  4. Buckle up. A seat belt is your best defense for minimizing your risk in a crash. An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that 60 percent of the people killed in animal-vehicle collisions weren’t wearing their seat belts.  

Did you know deer can run about 30 mph?  That make some accidents unavoidable but taking these precautionary steps can help reduce your chances.

Advanced safety technology such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning are becoming more popular and can help in preventing accidents. However, it can also cost twice as much to repair following a collision because of expensive sensors.  

Does my car insurance cover hitting a deer?  

At Rural Mutual, deer-vehicle collisions are covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance, which is an optional coverage you can choose to add on. It’s always best to talk to your local agent to make sure you’re properly covered.   

What to do if you hit a deer

  1. If you hit a deer, pull to the side of the road with your hazard lights on.
  2. Report the crash to local authorities. This may be required if there is significant damage but it also is helpful documentation to have when filing a claim. 
  3. Contact your insurance company and report damages. 

We’re here to help when things go wrong on the road. Contact your Rural Mutual agent for more safe driving tips.