If you are driving through a rural area in November around dusk or later, there is a chance you could get involved in an auto accident with a deer.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are about 1.5 million deer accidents a year. There are as many as 175 to 200 fatalities and 10,000 people are injured.
The majority of these accidents occur between October and December each year, although they do happen all year round.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company created a map in 2012 showing the states with the highest risk, medium risk and lowest risk of a deer accident.
States identified as the highest risk for such collisions include:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
States with a medium risk of a deer accident include:
- North Carolina
- New York
- New Jersey
States with the lowest risk of a deer accident include:
- New Mexico
- New Hampshire
Although studies of such events have not found a conclusive reason for these accidents, many believe that habitat fragmentation and the time of day in which the accidents occur are contributing factors.
The most common type of habitat fragmentation in the United States is roadways and highways in regions of heavy deer habitation. These highways and roadways commonly appear near rivers and lakes, which attract deer.
The time of day in which these types of accidents commonly occur is at night, dusk, and dawn. The deer are harder to see providing a contributing factor to an accident.
Avoiding A Deer Accident
Deer accidents can be prevented if the driver simply pays more attention when driving on rural roads in the fall. Roadways that have heavy deer activity are usually marked with signs. Deer are commonly active from dusk through dawn. Moreover, if you see one deer, then there is a good chance that there are more nearby. It is advised that you don’t swerve your vehicle to avoid hitting a deer because you could strike another car. It is also suggested that you set your headlights in high beam so that you can see better in rural areas at night. However, be prepared to switch to low beam when traffic approaches. If you see a deer in the middle of the road, slow down, and flash your headlights.
What To Do If You Hit A Deer
Sometime regardless of what you do, a deer accident may be unavoidable. If you collide with a deer it is suggested that you pull to the side of the road and call the police. Take pictures of the scene and any damage to your car. If there are witnesses, ask them for their phone number.
If the deer is alive and lying in the road, you should not try to move it. Instead, mark the spot and alert the local wildlife authorities.
A Deer Collision And Your Auto Insurance
No doubt you are wondering if your automobile insurance cover such accidents. Actually, it does. It is commonly covered under the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy. If your car has to be tolled from the location of the accident, that, too, is included under the comprehensive coverage or roadside assistance. Keep in mind that a deductible may be included in the coverage. It is advised that you consult with your auto insurance agent to determine the particulars of your policy.
Although you may not need a police report to go along with your claim, it will help in expediting payment.
Whether or not the accident results in a rise to your insurance premium depends on the company that is insuring you. Again, it is advised that you consult with your auto insurance agent.
If your auto insurance does not include comprehensive coverage or roadside assistance, then you may be on your own.
If you have comprehensive coverage and your auto insurance company still refuses to pay for a deer accident, then you could also seek assistance from an auto accident law firm.