Deer to Vehicle Collisions
Deer can not distinguish between a 2006 Mercedes or a 1968 Corvette or a Custom
Harley Davidson Motorcycle. As the deer population escalates through out many states,
so does the number of deer to vehicle collisions.
The Insurance Information Institute states that according to the National Safety Council,
there were 530,000 animal-related accidents in 2003 and these collisions resulted in 100
deaths and 10,000 injuries.
The average cost per insurance claim for collision damage is $2,800, with costs varying
depending on the type of vehicle and severity of damage. When you factor in auto claims
involving bodily injury, the average rises to $10,000, according to the Insurance
Information Institute (I.I.I.).
“As our wildlife habitat continues to shrink, accidents with deer and other animals are
likely to increase unless we are more vigilant in our driving,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore,
senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I.
The I.I.I. suggests the following defensive driving tips to avoid hitting a deer:
- Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before
and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
- Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to
have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields
from forestland. Deer seldom run alone. If you see one deer, others may be
- When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic.
The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
- Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane.
Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another
vehicle or lose control of their cars.
- Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter
deer. These devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
- Always wear your seat belt. Deer-vehicle collisions can result in serious injuries,
and even death.
- In the event your vehicle does strike a deer, try to avoid going near or touching the
animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself, warns
the I.I.I. If the deer is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other
motorists, you should call the police immediately.
Contact your insurance agent or company representative as quickly as possible to report
any damage to your car. Collision with a deer or animals is covered under the
comprehensive portion of your automobile policy.
More insurance-related information can be found on the I.I.I.’s Web site ( http://www.iii.
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