By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer
Mating season and the clearing of fields means deer are on the move, which increases the chances of them being in the road – sometimes even fighting. Deer-vehicle collisions typically peak in the fall months. Last year, the Ohio Department of Public Safety recorded nearly 4,000 of these crashes in November alone.
At worst, crashes involving deer can cause injuries and fatalities, and at the very least they can be costly. In 2017, the average insurance claim for a deer-vehicle collision in Ohio was more than $4,400.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way to keep deer off roadways, but there are precautions you can take to decrease the chances of hitting one.
- Scan the road ahead – Being alert and looking ahead for dangers gives you more time to stop if you spot a deer in the road. If you see one, watch out for more. Deer often travel in groups and they move fast.
- Use high beams – Use your high beams when there are no oncoming vehicles. You’ll see deer further ahead and have more time to slow down, stop or move over.
- Don’t swerve – Swerving to avoid an animal can make you lose control of your vehicle and can cause a more serious crash. If hitting a deer is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane.
- Stay awake, alert and sober – Distracted, drowsy or impaired driving means you can’t scan the road properly. Avoid all three whether or not there are deer on the road.
- Be careful at dusk and dawn – Deer can venture onto the road at any time, but they are most active at dawn and dusk.
- Wear your seatbelt and follow speed limits – Both are self-explanatory.
According to stats from State Farm Insurance, we Ohioans have a 1-in-134 chance of hitting a deer while driving. If you do hit a deer, AAA says:
- Move your vehicle to the side of the road away from the animal and away from traffic.
- Call the police and report it.
- Stay away from the deer and the road while waiting for the police to arrive.
- Contact your insurance company and file a claim.
- Double-check your car to make sure it’s safe to drive.
For more tips on safe driving, visit our Be Safe Ohio website.