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The dangers posed during deer season


Motor vehicle accidents take many forms and present countless dangers. November is particularly treacherous when it comes to the mating season for deer, resulting in peak numbers of collisions and insurance claims that result from them.

From 2006 to 2020, claim frequency in November was more than twice the average per month. August is traditionally the least likely to have claims filed, yet was 3.5 times the average pace, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

According to State Farm, two million claims involving collisions with deer and other animals were filed over the 12 months, a significant increase of 7.2 percent from the previous time period.

Preventing collisions presents challenges

While fall is a time of peak deer activity, the IIHS found that animals killed by motorists in the spring and summer have risen significantly. The supposed seasonal threat should force drivers to be more aware of the potential of hitting deer throughout the entire year.

Most new cars include automatic emergency braking with detection for pedestrians. However, those systems may not be able to identify a larger animal in the path of the motor vehicle. Deer activity typically peaks as the sun sets, creating even more challenges.

Ways to minimize and avoid collisions

Swerving to avoid a deer is not recommended as drivers can easily lose control, and the deer may become confused about where to go. Braking while in a straight line is preferred, even if the outcome results in some type of collision.

Additional steps can minimize the damage while increasing the chance of walking away from the accident and include:

  • Look for deer-crossing signs and wooded locations where animals are prone to travel and remember those areas in the future.
  • Stay alert, mainly if the animal is on the side of the road, and use high beams to increase your visibility.
  • Where there is one deer, there are likely others around, as they tend to travel in groups.
  • Buckle up. A vast majority of these accidents see unbuckled drivers and passengers losing their lives.

If a collision occurs, do not leave your car to check on the animal. As with any accident, contact the appropriate authorities, not to mention your insurance provider.