State Farm® estimates that 1.35 million auto-deer collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. Hitting a deer is not only harmful to wildlife, but can also cause severe damage to your car and put you at risk for injuries (deer are heavy animals!)
In order to prevent hitting a deer in the first place, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for deer during the fall months and at dawn and dusk, when it’s particularly difficult to see. However, as hard as we try, it can be extremely difficult to not hit a deer, because they tend to quickly change direction as they run away. Here’s what you should do if you hit a deer.
1. Stay calm
Hitting a deer is a traumatizing experience, but try to take a deep breath and remind yourself that this happens to millions of other drivers as well. Slowly maneuver your vehicle away from the deer and off to the side of the road before you get out. Be sure to also turn on your hazards to alert other drivers.
2. Safety first
If you hit a deer, do not approach, touch, or disturb it. Wounded deer are scared and will defend themselves with hard kicks! Call 911 and alert the police that you hit a deer and it is obstructing traffic.
3. Assess the damage
Take pictures if you can, call your insurance agent, and write down witnesses’ information if they stop. Be sure to also check your car for damage, and call a tow if it is not safe to drive it.