Watch Out for Deer on Roadways
Accidents with deer are common in autumn.
Drivers should be extremely alert for deer while driving this time of year, which is peak mating season for deer and a time when a large number of deer claims occur.
According to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, insurance claims for animal collisions are nearly 3 times higher during November than the typical month earlier in the year.
However, by being aware of the risks and following precautionary measures, you can reduce the likelihood of colliding with a deer.
Know the Facts
- Deer claims are more likely to occur in the early morning or evening hours. In fact, 50 percent of deer claims occur between 5 p.m. and midnight, and another 20 percent of claims occur between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
- Deer aren’t just found on rural roads near wooded areas, many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities.
- Deer often move in groups. If you see one, there are likely more in the vicinity.
- Stay alert, awake and sober.
- Always wear your seatbelt and drive at a safe, sensible speed for conditions.
- When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no opposing traffic. High-beam headlights will not necessarily frighten a deer, so do not rely on the high beams to deter deer, but rather rely on the lights to better illuminate the animal.
- Do not rely exclusively on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer.
When Deer are Near, Be Careful
- Deer are unpredictable, especially when faced with glaring headlights, blowing horns and fast-moving vehicles. They often dart into traffic. Assume nothing, slow down and blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road.
- If the deer stays on the road, stop, put on your hazard lights and wait for the deer to leave the roadway. Do not try to go around the deer while it is on the road.
- 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 and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
- If you do strike a deer, and are uncertain whether or not the deer is dead, then keep your distance, as this is an injured, wild animal with sharp hooves that can inflict injuries. If the deer is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other motorists, you should report the incident to the Game Commission or a local law enforcement agency
The above information was provided by Erie Insurance Company. If you have any questions about insurance please submit them to me and I will be happy to try to address it in an upcoming edition of The Cortland Area Tribune.
Matt Banazek is a licensed property and casualty insurance agent and one of the owners of Benson Davis Insurance. They are located at 5325 State Route 281 in Homer, NY. Questions can be submitted to Matt via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the mail.