I generally consider myself to be a good and safe driver. I am generally alert and watchful for hazards in the roadway. Last year I was driving my children to school when a deer jumped out from behind a bush where it had been hiding, and began sprinting across the highway. I didn’t even have time to hit the brakes when I struck the deer. All I remember was my seven year old son saying: Daddy said a bad word. It didn’t make for a good morning.
Cars and Deer are not a good combination. It can prove lethal to the deer and very costly for the owner of the vehicle. It can also prove to be lethal for the driver of the vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that deer involved collisions were responsible for about 200 fatalities per year. Last year nearly one and a quarter million such collisions occurred in the United States and the resulting damage cost more than four billion to repair. The average cost to repair a deer related collision was about thirty three hundred dollars. Deer mating season and migration generally runs from November thru December and this dramatic increase in movement causes a corresponding increase in deer-vehicle collisions during this time of year.
If you take a close look at your insurance policy you will find that damaged caused by hitting a deer or other animal in the road is NOT covered under the collision portion of your policy, but rather under the comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive – also referred to as Other Than Collision – covers things such as theft, vandalism, and other nature events such as hail, windstorm, falling or flying objects, ect. Comprehensive coverage is usually less expensive to purchase than collision coverage is. Some insurance companies will allow you to purchase comprehensive coverage without the corresponding collision coverage while others insist that they be sold as a package deal.
Please do the following to avoid deer related accidents.
• Remember that deer can be found anywhere – not just in rural areas.
• Deer are unpredictable. When faced with scary things like headlights and car horns they will often do the very dumbest of things.
• Deer are herd animals – if there is one there will probably be more.
• Pay attention to the deer crossing signs – that means that deer may very well be crossing.
• Always wear your seatbelt.
• Use your high beams when driving at night and pay attention the area off of the roadway.
• Deer are most active at dusk and early morning; special care should be taken at these times of day.
• Do NOT veer to avoid the deer. Brake firmly and stay in your lane. Many serious injuries and fatalities occur when drivers attempt to avoid the collision and lose control of their cars.
• Do not rely on deer whistles, deer fences, or reflectors; while these items can help they are NOT foolproof. Don’t bet your life on them.