The Fall season has arrived and so has the hunting season. This means the weather is getting colder, and with several inches of snow already hitting our neighboring states like MN, it is important to be cautious of deer on the road. Deer can be found foraging alongside forested roadways with creeks and rivers to state and local highways and sometimes even crossing onto city and suburban traffic roadways. We have comprised a list of helpful tips from Wisconsin Department of Transportation and our insurance carriers on how to avoid deer crashes.
1. Be vigilant in the early morning and evening hours when deer are most active
2. Slow down and eliminate distractions
3. Always wear your seat belt- there are fewer and less severe injuries when all vehicle occupants wear seat belts
4. If you see a deer along the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the animal away
5. When one deer appears, look for more. Deer seldom run alone
6. If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don’t expect it to move away - Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze - Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path
7. Do not swerve:
- Swerving can confuse the deer as to where to run, and can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle and result in a much more serious crash
- Exception: when operating a motorcycle, in which case you should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary, to avoid hitting the deer. Try to stay within your lane if possible, to avoid hitting other objects.
What To Do If You Hit A Deer
Sometimes, it is an unavoidable circumstance where you will hit a deer. If you should come into a deer-vehicle collision here are some steps you can take right after:
· Pull over when it is safe to do so. Move your vehicle to a safe place off the road. Turn on your hazard lights. Stay in your car with the seat belt on. Lingering outside your vehicle or walking along the road can be dangerous and may cause you to be struck by oncoming traffic, especially on the highway.
· Call for help. Depending on the circumstances, consider calling the Police. While it is not always required to file a police report, it can provide evidence if you decide to make an insurance claim.
· DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE THE DEER. If the animal is in the middle of the road, a trained professional from animal control, the game commission or your local fish and wildlife service can move it away for everyone’s safety. Sometimes, the deer can still be conscious and may strike you back even if it is injured.
· Assess the damages. When you are safe, examine your vehicle, note the damages, and take photos of the damages to the car. (You may need to send documentation and photos into your insurance carrier) Use good judgment to know if your car is safe to drive or if you will need to call for a tow truck.
· Should you file an insurance claim? It is best to call your insurance agent to help you make the decision to file a claim. Reviewing your policy coverages and deductibles with your agent will help you with the next steps to determine if a claim is necessary. You will receive the peace of mind knowing what your next steps in the claims process will be with the expertise of your independent agent.
Will My Auto Insurance Cover Me If I Hit A Deer?
Deer-Vehicle collisions are typically covered under the comprehensive coverage portion of your auto insurance policy, which is an optional coverage you can choose to add on. Comprehensive coverage may help you pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged when you hit a deer.
Talking to an insurance agent can help you to understand your auto coverages and to make sure you have the right limits and deductibles in place. Contact Paroubek Insurance today and learn more about customizing an auto insurance package that is right for you.