What Do You Do When You Hit A Deer?

It happens. It actually happens often. It's estimated that there are over 1.5 million deer-related accidents per year, sending 10,000 people to the hospital and causing about 200 deaths per year.

Hitting a deer with your car is bad for all involved; it's bad for you, for your car, and for the deer. So what can we do to avoid the situation and be as safe as possible?

How to Avoid Hitting the Deer

Vigilantly looking out for deer is the first step. Deer are more common in the roads in late fall and winter. They are also nocturnal, so be sure to keep an eye out at night. Where there is one deer, there will most likely be others.

Slow down when you see a deer. If you can avoid hitting a deer, absolutely do so. Some people say that it's best to speed up to avoid a deer possibly going through your windshield and injuring or killing you and other passengers. Do not do this! If you can slow down or stop to avoid the deer, do that first.

What to Do if Hitting the Deer is Inevitable

If you end up in a situation where the deer is in the road and it is inevitable, do not swerve into oncoming traffic or into other objects, such as trees. This is the cause of the worst injuries and the most fatalities.

Although a deer can cause extensive damage, it's safer to hit the deer than to run into oncoming traffic or other stable objects. Apply the brakes, hold your steering wheel steady, and continue until your car has come to a complete stop.


What to Do After You Hit the Deer

So now there's a deer in the road and you're thinking, now what do I do?

First, move you and your vehicle to a safe place. Pull over off the road and turn on your hazards. Because deer are more active in the evening, you and your car are less likely to be seen at this time. Be careful and stay off the road.

Call the police. Authorities will be able to move the deer if it is blocking traffic and creating a roadblock for other drivers. The police will be able to safely clear the area, as well as properly document an official report for your insurance and records.

Take photographs of the area if possible. Take photos of the deer, of the car, of the road, and all of the area. This can be useful for processing an insurance claim.

Double-check your car. Just because the deer may be down, that doesn't mean that your car didn't take a beating too! Make sure there are no leaks, broken lights, that your tires are functioning properly, and that your steering wheel moves normally, as well as any other obvious safety hazards. Call for a tow if the car seems unsafe at all.
If you are absolutely certain that the deer is dead, you can remove it from the road. However, a frightened and injured deer has very strong legs and sharp hooves and could easily knock you down with it! So it's recommended to avoid touching the deer. The police will be able to properly dispose of it.

But I want to keep the meat!! It's illegal to claim a deer carcass without a permit, but if it is positive that the deer is dead, you can keep a deer carcass after asking a law enforcement officer for a permit.

How Will This Affect My Insurance?

The sooner you report damage or injuries, the sooner insurance can file and process your claim.

Typically, an accident with an animal is covered under comprehensive insurance. Since this would be a no fault situation, your insurance is often able to take care of it.

If you have collision insurance, and not comprehensive, be certain to check with your insurance agent to see if animal collisions are covered.

And if you are in an area where deer collisions are common, be certain to look into what type of insurance you have before you need it.

For more questions or comments, contact us at 856-939-4000.