Deer Safety: Tips For Avoiding A Collision

Knowing what to do when you encounter a large animal on or near the roadway can be a life-saver. Keeping calm and driving smart improve your chances of avoiding a collision and staying safe on the road.

Deer mating season can be a dangerous time for drivers, deer and car hoods. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year, resulting in 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage. Being prepared can help prevent you from adding to these statistics.

6 Ways To Avoid Hitting A Deer

Deer crossing sign1. Watch for the rest of the gang.

Deer are pack animals, and rarely travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, chances are there are more nearby. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer darting across the road.

2. Timing is everything.

Deer are most active at dusk and dawn: periods when your vision is most compromised. To add to their terrible timing, deer are on the move during mating season (between October and January) when you’re more likely to travel after the sun sets. Slow down and stay alert, especially after dark.

3. Use your headlights.

First, look for the road signs. The yellow diamonds with the deer on it are placed in high-traffic areas for deer. You may also spot a deer because their eyes will brightly reflect a car’s headlights, making them easier to spot.

We're here to help, 24/7.

4. Stay center.

On a multi-lane road, the center lane is your safest bet for avoiding a deer collision, as long as your local traffic laws permit it. This gives deer plenty of space; and in case your vehicle does startle them, it gives you more time to react if one darts onto the road.

5. Brake, don’t swerve.

If you see a deer, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Swerving could make you lose control of your vehicle and turn a bad situation much worse. Not to mention, deer are unpredictable, and you could swerve directly into their changed path.

6. Honk!

Some experts recommend that one long blast of the horn will scare deer out of the road. Do not rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer—studies have shown them to be largely ineffective at minimizing accidents.

What To Do If You Hit A Deer

If the above plan fails (and it happens to the best drivers), you should take the following steps in the deer collision aftermath.

  1. Pull to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights and remain in the vehicle until you are sure it is safe.
  3. Call emergency services if injuries are involved or the local police for property damage.
  4. Stay away from the deer. If it is still alive, it could be confused, injured and dangerous if approached. When contacting the authorities, let them know if the deer is in a dangerous spot on the road so that it can be removed.
  5. Contact GEICO as quickly as possible to report any damage to your vehicle.

Make sure you have comprehensive coverage included in your auto insurance in the event of an animal accident. Get a free online car insurance quote and see how much you could save with GEICO!

Need to report an accident? Click here.

By Nathan Erb

Get GEICO Auto insurance.

    Leave a comment

  1. Darren Hamlett says,

    The articles were very informative and helpful and can help prevent accidents as well as life saving,thanks Geico.

  2. Stanley Gottlieb says,

    I knew about most of the dear avoidance tips given. I did not know about releasing break at impact. A very valuable tip to prevent animal from coming through windshield.

  3. Aimee Tuzeneu says,

    Helpful Tips!!!! I Never Even Knew They Had Whistles To Scare Off The Deer, But I’m Glad To Know That They Don’t Work So I Wouldn’t Waste My Money On Getting One!!!!

  4. James Barnhart says,

    Never use what they call deer whistles. Those little things you place on the front of the car to scare them off. I drove trucks for almost 40 yrs and the only deer i hit was after the company put them on there trucks. The deer was standing in the median on a interstate Hwy till i come along and it spooked it and run in front of me. I did not know they put them on or would have took them off. Was not long till they took them all off. Ask a state trouper. I have had them tell me to never use them.

Looking to save? Bundle your auto & property. Start Quote Get A Free Auto + Property Quote