An estimated 1.5 million deer-vehicle crashes occur each year on U.S. roads, resulting in at least $1.1 billion in vehicle damage, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The number of animal and vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities varies by region - but these accidents are especially common between October and December during deer migration and mating season. In an effort to reduce these collisions, drivers should be aware of this danger and take the necessary precautions to remain accident-free between 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. this fall.
Whether you’re driving in the city or the country, here are some tips to keep you safe on the road:
- Remain alert at all times and watch out for animals.
- Slow down if you see an animal up ahead, as it is generally unpredictable.
- Slow down at designated animal crossing areas marked by road signs. These signs indicate that the area has a lot of animal traffic and an increased potential for accidents.
- Use your high beams at night to see animals easier.
- Watch your speed, especially during dusk and at night.
- Have your vehicle’s brakes and tires checked regularly to ensure that they are in safe working order.
- Watch out for movement and shiny eyes on the roadsides. Slow down if you see anything suspicious.
- BRAKE! If you see an animal in front of you, do not swerve because it may cause you to hit another vehicle, side rail or lose control all together.
- Slow down on blind curve areas of the roadway.
- Always wear a seat belt—it’s your best safety defense.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, "Nationally the average cost per claim average is $4,135, up 6 percent from 2014, when it was $3,888." In the event that your vehicle collides with an animal, pull off to the side of the road and call the State Patrol or local police department. Frightened or injured animals can be dangerous, do not attempt to move the animal or leave your vehicle to approach the animal. Take pictures of the accident scene and vehicle damage for your insurance claim, and contact your Marshall & Sterling representative right away to report any damage.