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Avoiding Deer / Car Collisions

Deer populations continue to expand and with it, human encroachment due to urban sprawl further increases the chance of a deer-vehicle collision. For New Jersey Car Insurance policyholders, this is a fact of life as urban areas continue to penetrate the deer’s rural environments. Both Maryland car insurance owners and Pennsylvania policyholders are also impacted. In fact, Pennsylvania incurs the greatest insurance claims due to deer collisions of any state in the country.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 1.5 million annual collisions are the direct result of hitting deer, with $1 billion in damages, 150 human fatalities and more than 10,000 personal injuries as a result. Costs per accident are averaged at $10,000, depending on individual accident variables. Since there is no standard reporting mechanism for such accidents, it is likely the number is significantly higher. Yet, there are precautions drivers can take to ameliorate the chances of a deer-vehicle collision, whether you carry New Jersey car insurance or are insured in Pennsylvania or Maryland with IFA.

How To Avoid Hitting Deer

The following driving tips may reduce the chance of hitting a deer or even avoid hitting one altogether, when driving in deer-populated areas:

  • Be alert when driving at dusk and dawn when deer are most likely to be active,
  • Slow down in deer-crossing zones and on country roads where agricultural fields and woods are present. Since deer rarely travel alone, it is likely several could be moving together,
  • Use high beam headlights for night driving in deer territory. High beam lights better illuminate the deer’s eyes on or near the roadway,
  • Even though deer whistles and horns have become popular devices for country drivers, they are not always effective at preventing a collision with deer. Further, always wear a seatbelt. Remarkably, many deer-vehicle collisions occur with drivers not wearing safety belts,
  • If a deer enters the roadway, stay in your lane and do not swerve to avoid it since you could hit an oncoming car or lose control of your own vehicle. Instead, brake firmly to reduce potential impact.

What To Do If You Hit A Deer

If you hit a deer, IFA advises you follow the procedures below:

  • Do not touch the animal since a wounded deer could further hurt itself or you. If possible, get your vehicle off the road and call the police,
  • Contact IFA or your insurance agent right away to report any damages or injuries as a result of the collision as it is covered under the comprehensive section of your auto policy.