HARTFORD, CT (September 30, 2020) - Given that this is the time of year when Connecticut motorists are most likely to strike a deer, AAA is warning of the high price to be paid, both literally and figuratively, in the event of such a crash.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 fatalities and tens of thousands of injuries.
“Across Connecticut, deer strikes start to increase in October and then nearly double in November,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “With that in mind, AAA is urging motorists to drive defensively and remain alert behind the wheel, especially at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active.”
According to UConn Crash Data, in the last five years, at least two people have been killed in crashes involving deer and almost 350 injured.
Putting a Dent in Your Wallet
Even those with the good fortune to walk away from a deer collision unharmed may still pay a steep price.
According to AAA Insurance, the average claim for a deer strike is more than $4000, and if you don't have proper coverage, that could be a painful, out-of-pocket expense.
“Safety is priority one, so first and foremost we are encouraging motorists to adjust their driving behaviors to prevent a collision,” says Greg Lauria, Regional AAA Insurance spokesperson. “But also important in minimizing risk is making sure your vehicle is appropriately covered”.
Collision with a deer or other animals is covered under the comprehensive portion of your automobile policy.
Deer Danger by the Numbers
According to the DEEP, there were almost 3,000 deer strikes in the state of Connecticut last year and, the top 7 towns with the highest reported deer strikes in 2019 were:
In the event of a collision with an animal, AAA recommends:
- If possible, immediately move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway. Your safety and the safety of your passengers is most important.
- Once you are in a safe location and no longer driving, call the police.
- Put the vehicle’s hazard lights on; whether it is light or dark outside.
- Avoid making contact with the deer/animal. A frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself.
- Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car.
- Take photos of the damage if you can do so safely and without entering the roadway
AAA tips to help prevent a crash or to reduce damage from an animal collision:
- Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
- Keep your eyes moving back and forth. Continuously sweep your eyes across the road in front of you for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also be alongside the road, so make sure to look to the right and left, as well. While the most likely crash is you hitting an animal, on occasion they might also hit you by running into the side of your car.
- Limit distractions - always.
- Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Deer are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. – prime commuting times for many people.
- Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
- Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
- Slow down around curves. It’s harder to spot animals when going around curves.
- One long blast. A long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your vehicle.
- Resist the urge to swerve: Instead, stay in your lane with both hands firmly on the wheel. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause you to crash into something like a lamppost or a tree.
- Always wear a seatbelt. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on. Also never drive drunk, distracted or drowsy.
- Drivers should consider purchasing comprehensive insurance, if they don’t already have it. Comprehensive insurance is the type of insurance that covers animal strikes.