Most people associate auto-deer accidents with the fall months, but did you know that late spring and early summer – May, June and July – are the second-to-most dangerous time of the year? This is because fawns are about; last year’s fawns are now on their own and moms are caring for new babies. As we transition to summer, corn is more abundant. Deer will wander from wooded areas in the morning to feed on the cornfields at night.
There are always obstacles for drivers on our roadways, but deer are often unpredictable and can jet out in front of a car without any warning. As in any situation, attentive driving is the best way to avoid an accident.
- Scan the side of the road often looking for deer.
- Watch for deer-crossing signs. These signs are posted in areas where accidents and deer activity have been reported.
- Keep a close eye on the roadways and the side of the roads.
- Most deer-related accidents occur near bridges or overpasses. Deer also follow streams, woodlands, fields, farmland and ditches.
- If you see a deer, slow down and/or stop, and let it cross. Do not swerve because that can confuse deer as to where to run. It could also cause you to lose control.
- Remember, deer typically do not travel alone, so if you see one deer chances are that there are more.
- Watch your speed. Don’t drive too fast especially in the dark. More deer-related auto accidents occur at night because the deer are more hidden from the driver’s sight, and vehicle headlights can disorient deer causing them to run in front of, or into a moving vehicle.
- Deer tend to be on the move during dawn and dusk. Since road visibility can be low during these times, drive with high beams on when possible, and look for the reflection of eyes in the headlights.
- Do not swerve or slam on the brakes to avoid a deer. It is far better to kill the deer than it is to seriously injure or kill yourself or others by veering into oncoming traffic, slamming into a tree or getting rear-ended.
- It can potentially put you at risk for hitting another vehicle or losing control of your own car, even rolling over. Your odds of surviving an accident are better hitting an animal than another vehicle.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Most people injured and/or killed in deer-automobile collisions were not wearing them.
- Some recommend letting out one long car horn blast which will usually encourage the deer to run away.
If you have an unfortunate auto accident with a deer, it’s important to move your vehicle to the side of the road, turn on your hazards and call for emergency service.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.