Deer-Mating Season Brings Higher Risk for Drivers
Oct. 25, 2017 – Deer mating season will soon be in full swing and the chances of striking a deer with your vehicle just went up as well. In South Dakota in 2016, there were 4,664 crashes reported involving wild animals, the majority of these is deer. As a result there were 3 fatalities, and 76 people injured, according to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
These types of collisions occur most often in November but are also prevalent in October and December. And as the days get shorter, drivers are more likely to be on the road at dawn and dusk, which are times of high animal activity.
Whether a deer, dog, moose or a squirrel, animals on the roadway are unexpected and their actions can be erratic and unpredictable. AAA encourages drivers to use caution, reduce distractions and stay alert.
“A driver may encounter any number of scenarios at any given moment behind the wheel,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokesperson for AAA South Dakota. “Giving driving your full attention is essential. The sooner you see an animal on the roadway, the more time you’ll have to react safely.”
What to do if an animal runs in front of your vehicle
- Be observant. Look for deer-crossing signs indicating areas where deer frequently travel. Deer are creatures of habit and may often use the same path again and again.
- Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk. Most animals, especially deer, tend to be more active early in the morning and at dusk.
- Be alert. A deer standing near the road may suddenly dart across the roadway. Slow down and use your horn to scare the deer. Use high-beams for greater visibility.
- Look for groups. If you see one deer crossing the road, more are likely to follow.
- Never swerve. Nobody wants to hit an animal but it’s better than seriously injuring yourself or others. If you see an animal on the roadway, don’t swerve. Instead, slow down and brake. Swerving can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and strike another vehicle or run off the road.
- Use your horn. There is no conclusive evidence that hood-mounted deer whistles and other such devices work. Use your horn instead to scare the deer.
- Buckle up and don’t speed. A lower speed will increase your reaction time.
What to do if you hit a deer
- Keep your distance animal isn’t killed. Some deer may recover and move on.
- Do not try to move a deer. An injured deer might panic and seriously injure you. Call police or animal control for assistance.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible if you hit a deer.
- Take pictures to document the crash.
Auto Insurance Note: Collision coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with an object (e.g., a telephone pole, a guard rail, a mailbox, an animal), or as a result of flipping over. Comprehensive coverage is for damage to your car covered by disasters “other than collisions,” contacts (in this case, contact/collision with animals) and are paid for under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.