While deer-related auto accidents can happen anytime during the year, something that seems to be becoming more common as we continue to encroach upon rural environments, they certainly increase during ‘rut season’. Deer rutting season is the period between October and January when deer mate. The weather is typically cooler, and the deer are so busy frolicking about, chasing after a potential mate, that they fail to pay as much attention to their surroundings or to approaching vehicles on roadways. With over half a million deer-collisions annually, some which are fatal, deer-related accidents can be dangerous as well as costly. It is for this reason that one would be wise to avoid hitting a deer in the first place, which is why we are choosing to write this month’s article: 7 tips on how to avoid hitting a deer.
7 Tips on how to avoid hitting a deer:
- From dusk to dawn, especially between sunset and midnight, deer are prone to be more active. Because of this, these times require drivers to be more attentive. This is especially important given its usually darker and more difficult to see the deer as soon during these times as well.
- When driving in heavily wooded areas or open agricultural areas, use extra caution. Additionally, be more cautious and alert when driving through deer-crossing zones, which are usually notated by a sign.
- Know that deer rarely travel along, so if you see one deer it is highly likely there are more nearby. Slow down and pay attention.
- Use your ‘bright lights’ or high beam headlights when you are driving at night (of course, diming them when you are faced with oncoming traffic). The brighter lights will allow you to see the deer on or near the roadway much easier.
- When you do spot a deer near the roadway, slow down and lay on your horn. A long loud blast is likely to scare a deer away. They do make deer-deterring devices, such as deer whistles, and while you may want to go ahead and install them, they have not proven to be any better a deterrent than using your car horn.
- When a deer leaps out in front of your vehicle, brake firmly but do not swerve. Stay in your lane. It is far better to hit the deer than to overcorrect and end up hitting an oncoming vehicle or a tree on the side of the road.
- This should go without saying since it’s the law, but just in case, remember to always wear your seatbelt. Many people who are injured in accidents, including deer-related collisions, are not wearing their seat belt.
Using these 7 tips to avoid hitting a deer, we hope that you do just that…avoid an accident. Of course, even the most cautious driver cannot always avoid being in a ‘deer-hit’ scenario. Stay tuned for our follow up article that will be out soon where we will cover the topic of what to do once you have been in a deer-related automobile collision.