As the outdoor temperature gradually drops, animal activity and deer-vehicle accidents increase. Every year across the country, deer and other animals cause millions of dollars in vehicle damage as well as thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities. Whether you are taking your family on a trip through the woods or just traveling on business, the following safety tips are intended to save your life and prevent accidents.
Drivers should review their auto insurance policies since not all policies cover damage caused by deer strikes. Comprehensive coverage is optional insurance but it does cover deer strikes. If you only have collision coverage or liability coverage, your insurance carrier will not cover damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with an animal.
Actions to Consider
1. Heed the warning signs. Posted warnings of deer and animal crossing are there for a reason.
2. Always drive at a safe speed.
3. Many animals move around at dusk and early morning.
4. Observe your surroundings. Actively scan the sides of the roads as you drive for any signs of wildlife.
5. September through January is a time when deer and elk are particularly active.
6. Deer and elk are herd animals, so if you see one, there may be more.
7. Don’t rely on vehicle-mounted whistles or reflectors to keep deer away from your vehicle. Studies show they are not effective.
8. Notify the local law enforcement agency if you have an accident with an animal.
9. Contact the local emergency services if anyone is injured.
10. If you have comprehensive coverage, deer accidents are covered. However, if you swerve to avoid hitting the deer and hit another vehicle, that would be considered collision coverage, and is many times more expensive for your insurer and you.
We hope you never have to worry about hitting a deer or other animal. Please slow down and be safe. Taking simple precautions can be the difference between having an accident with a deer, and almost having an accident with a deer.
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