Tips for Avoiding Deer on the Road

Car Accident

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While the chances of hitting a deer may not be as great in Massachusetts or Rhode Island as, say, West Virginia or Pennsylvania, it only takes one such collision to ruin your day. According to a national insurer, the average national claim cost for deer collisions in 2015 was $4,135, up 6 percent from 2014. What can you do to avoid deer on the highway?

Be Aware of Deer Activity and Tendencies

Here are some important points to remember:

  •  Deer can be found on nearly any road. While most collisions with deer occur on two-lane roads, deer are particularly hazardous near interstate highways and thruways, since cars are usually traveling much faster.
  •  Road salt helps melt ice, but it also attracts deer and other animals that are trying to supplement their diet. After an ice or snowstorm, therefore, the number of deer alongside highways may be greater than normal.
  •  Deer movement is most prevalent around dawn and dusk.
  •  Deer activity also follows seasonal behavior patterns, such as the October-December breeding season. November is generally the most dangerous month.
  •  Deer typically move in groups. If you see one, chances are high that others are nearby. It isn’t always the case that you hit the first one you see; it’s quite likely that you may hit one you don’t initially see.
  •  Deer behavior is extremely unpredictable. The fact that a deer is grazing quietly 20 feet off the edge of the road does not mean it will stay put as you approach.

Driving Suggestions

Other suggestions to lessen the risk of hitting a deer:

  •  Don’t ignore road signs that warn of the presence of deer. The sign is likely there because someone else was involved in a car-deer collision. Heed the warning and use extra caution in known “deer zones.”
  •  At night, if at all possible, use high beams in known deer zones.
  •  Wear your seatbelt. Doing so might not lessen the chances of hitting a deer, but it will lessen your injuries if you end up in a ditch or against a tree.
  •  Avoid swerving when you see a deer. Swerving alone may not help, as deer react in unpredictable patterns. Moreover, if you swerve, you might find yourself in the path of another vehicle that can do more damage than the deer. Also, when you swerve, you might run off the road altogether.
  •  Do not rely on deer whistles or other devices to drive the animals away. Most experts agree that they have little, if any, effect on the animals.

If You Do Hit a Deer, Then What?

If, after being aware of deer activity and after practicing safe driving methods, you still have a close encounter with deer, what should you do?

  •  Move your vehicle off the road, if possible. One collision is plenty. Try to avoid others. Turn on your hazard lights.
  •  Do not touch the deer! If it is still alive, your presence near it could cause further alarm and the impulse to defend itself.
  •  Call the police. Again, while conditions may vary, the police may need to assist with traffic control. Police can also assist you in taking down information for your insurance claim.
  •  Use your cell phone to take pictures of the scene, including the deer. Get contact information from any other witnesses at the scene.
  •  Talk with the police about having your car towed. Your car may be unsafe to drive.
  •  Contact your auto insurance carrier.

Discuss Your Auto Accident with Bottaro Law

Have you been involved in an auto accident in Massachusetts or Rhode Island? Bottaro Law is a top-rated team of experienced personal injury attorneys who have achieved extraordinary results representing victims in auto accidents throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. To discuss the specifics of your case with one of our attorneys at no cost, call (401) 777–7777 or complete a short information form on our web site.