If you have ever had to drive on rural roads, you know that the risk of encountering deer can be pretty high. In fact, more than 1.5 million accidents in the United States are due to someone hitting a deer, sending over 10,000 people to the hospital and killing more than 100 each year.
When driving, if you see a deer on the side of the road, slow down as much as possible. It is very rare that one deer is alone as they usually travel in herds. If one crosses the road, stop and look carefully as others may follow quickly behind. This is especially true if the deer is female as she may have a young doe with her. Deer are nocturnal so it is important to pay more attention at night. This also makes them more difficult to see on dark country roads.
If You Cannot Avoid the Deer
One common myth is that you should speed up so that the hood of your car tilts upward but this is extremely dangerous. If a deer breaks through your windshield, its hooves can kill you or a passenger. Most injuries and fatalities are caused by drivers who try to take evasive action. Apply your brakes firmly, hold the steering wheel and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop as soon as you can. Do not swerve into oncoming traffic or veer off the road where you risk rolling your car or hitting a tree.
If the Deer is Injured
Unless you are absolutely certain the deer is dead, don’t try to move it. Deer have very powerful legs and, if they are injured, will be frightened if you come close. If they kick you, it is possible you will be lying in the road as well. If the deer is moving and you can move your car, place it in front of oncoming traffic with the hazard lights flashing. This will keep other cars from hitting the deer in the road. Call 911. The police will notify the proper authorities to remove the deer and you will receive a police report for insurance purposes.
Can I Keep the Carcass?
If it is not deer season, you must request permission to keep the deer carcass for its meat. Outside of hunting season, contact the authorities even if your car is not damaged. You will need to take it to a processor fairly quickly to be sure the meat remains edible.
If you have been in an accident involving a deer and your vehicle has sustained damage, contact Elmer’s Auto Body today. We will work to get your car back on the road as fast as possible. Schedule an appointment by calling or filling out the easy online form.