As summer comes to a close and fall weather begins, we will soon see the usual influx of deer roaming near our streets and highways. These creatures may conjure sweet memories of Bambi for some, and excitement over the impending hunting season for others. Unfortunately, they are responsible for a number of car accident causes and often present the potential for dangerous automobile accidents—especially in areas where their population is high.

As always, being aware of your surroundings and focused on safe driving is the key to avoiding any accident. The III (Insurance Information Institute) has some additional tips for avoiding deer specifically:

  • Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland. Deer seldom run alone. If you see one deer, others may be nearby.
  • When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
  • 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.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
  • If your vehicle strikes a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.

Even taking all of the correct precautions doesn’t always protect you from an accident. If you are involved in a deer collision, or any other automobile accident, make sure to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.

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