A new study published in Current Biology found that “Collisions with deer increase by 16% in the week following the autumn clock change.” The main culprit seems to be that rush-hour traffic shifts from daylight to after sunset. Interestingly, this increase is more drastic on the East Cost rather than out west. Mating season is in full swing right when the clocks change, resulting in increased deer activity and less-than-ideal driving conditions.
Tips for avoiding deer collisions
- Maintain a safe amount of distance between other vehicles on the road. If a vehicle in front of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.
- Slow down in areas where there are deer crossing signs and in wooded areas.
- Drive with your high beams on when possible and watch for deer eyes reflecting in your headlights.
- If you see a deer in the road, watch out for others, since they often travel in herds.
- Slow down and blow your horn if you spot a deer along the road.
- Don’t swerve to avoid a collision with a deer. It could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- If you hit a deer, don’t touch it. Get your vehicle off the road and call 911.
Does my auto insurance cover deer collisions?
Auto insurance does cover deer collisions, provided you have Comprehensive (Other Than Collision) coverage on the vehicle involved.
Comprehensive coverage includes anything that isn’t a collision. For example:
- A rock hits your windshield while you’re driving down the highway
- A tree falls on your car
- Someone steals your car
- Fire damage
- Storm damage
- Flood damage
- Your niece hits a foul ball during a softball tournament and it hits your windshield while you’re taking a nap in the car — which startles you and makes you spill your coffee all over your favorite pair of jeans (from personal experience)
- Pretty much any other damage not caused by your car colliding into something
Auto insurance carriers consider accidents involving deer/animals as “the deer/animal hit you.” Therefore, it falls under Comprehensive coverage on your car insurance.
What to do if you hit a deer
1. Move your vehicle to the side of the road, away from the animal
Turn on your car’s hazard lights and remain in the vehicle until it’s safe to exit.
2. Call the police
Let them know if the animal is blocking the road, as it could pose a danger to oncoming drivers.
3. Stay clear of the deer or animal
When a deer is hit by a car, it will be frightened and could harm people. The police will handle the situation once they arrive.
4. When it’s safe, document the accident
Take pictures of the road, surroundings, damages, and any injuries to you or your passengers. If another motorist stops to help, document their account of the incident and ask for their contact information.
5. Contact your insurance carrier or Watchmen Insurance to file a claim
Click here to find a list of all of our carriers, or contact us directly
6. Make sure your car is safe to drive
Look specifically for things like leaking fluids, broken lights, or a hood that won’t stay latched. If you have roadside assistance or comprehensive coverage on your policy, you can get help getting a tow.
Hitting animals can cause a lot of damage. Save yourself the headache — be extra vigilant when both sides of the road are wooded and whenever you see a deer crossing sign.