It is becoming that time of year when deer are more active. One thing you always dread seeing while on the road are little eyes staring at you from the side of the road. According to State Farm Insurance, there were over 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Accidents involving deer happen most during October through December, which is hunting and mating season. While you may not be able to always avoid hitting a deer while driving, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk.

How-to Avoid Hitting a Deer While Driving: Precautions to Take

Know High Risk Areas

In order to avoid hitting a deer while driving, it helps to know when and where you may expect them. While it is possible in any state, there are some states you have a much higher risk of hitting a deer while driving than others. For example, in West Virginia, you have a 1 in 37 chance of being in a collision with an animal. Next in line are Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Michigan. Typically, there are bright yellow road signs marking areas where deer are likely to be. They often graze in open fields or wooded areas. If you do see a deer cross the road in a certain area, make note because they are likely to cross the street there again. There are certain times of the day where you are more likely to see a deer near the road. They are more active around sunrise and sunset. Keep in mind that deer are most active from October to December, but it is good to be aware all of the time.

Avoid a Collision

If conditions allow for it, use your high beams while driving to increase your visibility. This will help you be to able to see animals that are on the side of the road, and help you avoid hitting a deer.. Deer often travel in groups, so keep in mind that if you see one, there’s likely many more behind them. Keep in this mind so that you proceed with caution if one crosses your path. Finally, if you do come across a deer, do not swerve. There may be other things in your path that are more dangerous that hitting a deer. For example, you may swerve into oncoming traffic, a ditch, or other obstacles. Wearing a seatbelt can help keep you safe in the event of an accident.

If You Do Hit a Deer…

Sometimes, you are unable to avoid hitting a deer. If you can do so safely, pull over to the side of the road. Also, turn your hazards on. However, do not go near the deer. Injured animals can be upset and hurt someone. When it is safe to do so, get out and look at the damage. Take photos of your vehicle, and determine if you can drive your car anymore. If not, you can call roadside assistance or a towing company. If you want to report the accident to the police, you can call them to get an accident report. Based on the damage, you can decide if you want to file an insurance claim or not.