If you are a hunter, you definitely know when deer season is. If you are a motorist, you are aware that most every time you drive your car; you see a deer on the side of the road. Many times it is not alive. As sad as it is for the deer (and small kids who have to see it) it can also be dangerous if you hit one of these creatures going 50-60 mph.
Deer mating season is October through December. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, there have been 1,875 crashes involving deer, with eight people killed and 213 injured. Missouri in 2019 Missouri ranks 17th in the nation for the likelihood (1 in 117) that a driver will hit a deer. Kansas ranks 18th. Insurance claims for hitting a deer average about $4,000. Deer accidents send about 10,000 people to the hospital every year and kill 200.
How to avoid hitting a deer
When you see a deer know that there is probably more than one. If you can stop and honk your horn (safely), it is a good idea. That will startle the deer into crossing the road more quickly. If you choose not to stop and honk, proceed at a slow pace. If you see one deer cross the road, wait as there is may be more.
Watch for deer at night
Deer are nocturnal. Unfortunately, they are harder to see at night, as is everything else on the side of the road. When possible, use your bright lights through wooded areas. If you know that land is being cleared in your area, be alert. Deer may be looking for new places to mate and bed down. Scan both sides of the road, especially in areas with lots of trees or woods, while driving at night.
As a driver, you can do more damage to your car and passengers if you try and swerve to avoid hitting the deer. Swerving off the road or into oncoming traffic to avoid a deer is not a good strategy to avoid hitting a deer. It is best to apply your brakes and hit the deer to avoid oncoming traffic or going off the road and hitting a tree, another car or a pedestrian. The best offense is a strong defense. If you do hit a deer, remain in your car. Never attempt to ascertain if the deer is dead. A kicking deer can cause a lot of bodily harm and may even kill you. Call your local police department or highway patrol.
Hitting a deer and your insurance claim
Hitting a deer is considered a no-fault accident. Your rates should not go up as a result of this type of an accident. If you hit a deer and your windshield has been severely cracked, or you cannot drive your car for other reasons, call your roadside service or your insurance company to have your vehicle towed. If the accident with the deer has caused damage to the body of your car, make sure your car is towed to your choice of a reputable auto body shop for repairs.
Fall brings cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, and deer mating season. Drive cautiously and if you do hit a deer, know that your insurance will not go up and that Barbosa’s Kustom Kolor stands by all their auto body work and has outstanding customer service.
This was posted in October 2016 and has been recently edited and updated.