Avoiding Collisions With Deer

Some hunters spend thousands of dollars on equipment, brave the cold and the rain, and sit in a tree with a rifle for days. Some of these hunters will never see a deer. Others will bag a buck with a Buick without even trying. Although no laughing matter, the deer population poses a serious threat of auto accident damage to motorists.

What can you do to avoid hitting an animal? Collisions with animals, particularly deer, represent more than four percent of all vehicle crashes in the United States according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatal Accident Reporting System, so the agency decided to look into the issue further. Analysis showed that the most dangerous
times of day for deer-related crashes are in the early evening and early morning — the most active time for deer. The most dangerous time of year is during the mating season, in November and December. So, what can you do to avoid an auto body collision with an animal yourself?

First, pay attention to animal crossing signs. They’re probably there because other motorists have had crashes in the area. Also, obey the speed limit and keep a close watch for deer around dusk and at dawn.

Don’t over-drive your headlights at night – that is, control your speed so that you will have time to react to something when it appears in your headlights. If you see a deer in the road, honk your horn — flashing your lights might cause the animal to further fixate on your vehicle. Keep in mind that if you think you are going to hit the animal, it’s often better to brake than
to swerve. Swerving can confuse the animal as to which way to run and possibly result in a worse auto collision with a fixed object such as a tree or an oncoming vehicle.