Best Ways to Avoid Hitting Deer - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Sep 23, 2019

Best Ways to Avoid Hitting Deer

With the fall and winter months approaching, we often think about the holidays, spending time with family and friends, and for some, the start of hunting season. At the same time—these months also pose a greater risk of car accidents involving deer. Between October and December 2018, NYCM Insurance our Claims Specialists recorded over 5,000 claims involving an animal, resulting in an average of over $4,000 in damages. 

Here are a few tips to get you through peak deer season safely:

Drive with Caution

It’s always important to be cautious and free of distractions while driving. Deer mating season, or rut, occurs in the fall months; thus, deer are more active and are crossing the road more often. When seeing a deer crossing sign, always take caution and slow down as it indicates the area has a higher deer population. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t be cautious when driving through unmarked areas. You should also increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. This will provide you with extra response time in the event of a sudden need to brake. 

Acknowledge the Time of Day

Dusk and dawn are high risk time periods for deer movement. Of all of our total recorded animal related claims, 24% occur before 7am, and 32% occur between 7pm and Midnight.  If you are driving during these times, be sure to use your headlights and/or high beams when possible. This will allow you to look for illuminated eyes and increase your response time. 

Regularly Maintain your Vehicle

Regular maintenance of your vehicle and ensuring inspection is up to date can reduce the likelihood of deer related incidents  . Because deer are more active during the fall and winter months, you’ll want to ensure clear visibility by keeping your windshield clean. Also check that your headlights and taillights are clean and in good working condition. In an instance where you approach a deer while on the road, tapping your brakes can alert any drivers behind you. 

Expect the Unexpected

Animal behavior is unpredictable, especially when the animal is frightened. Typically, when you spot one deer there are a few that follow; always keep your eyes open for more. It’s especially important not to swerve to avoid a deer. Although this tends to be a natural instinct to avoid accidents, it has the potential to put you into a more dangerous situation. 

Have an Action Plan

Although taking precautions can significantly decrease your risk of an accident, there is still that chance it could happen to you. In the case that you do hit a deer, it’s recommended to turn on your hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road. Once there, proceed to call 9-1-1 to report the accident. You should always remain in your car. Do not attempt to touch the animal—it’s best to leave the rest to the police. In the case you are injured, keeping a car safety kit including a first aid kit could be handy to stop bleeding and protect superficial wounds. 

Practicing safe and distraction-free driving could save you from a possible insurance claim. As you hit the road in the months ahead stay alert to avoid an accident.