Deer Season Driving Tips to Avoid Collisions

Safe driving habits are important year-round, but with the changing seasons comes risks that require heightened awareness. As fall arrives and the daylight hours get shorter, “deer season” comes into play. According to the Institute for Insurance Information, the period of October through December presents increased movement of the deer population; as a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year.

While deer are on the move, they may unexpectedly appear on the roads, highways and neighborhoods in which your and your organization’s vehicles may travel. Avoid these interactions by driving defensively, staying alert and following these tips to stay safe while the deer roam.

Deer-Season Driving 101

  • Most accidents occur between dusk and dawn. Deer tend to be more active during the early morning and late afternoon hours. Avoiding these times of the day will reduce the chances of accidents.
  • Avoid traveling in heavily wooded areas where deer tend to be more congregated.
  • Deer crossing signs indicate areas where deer trails cross roadways. Drivers should have increased awareness at these locations, reduce speed and keep eyes on the road.
  • Deer tend to travel in numbers… so if you see one, there are likely more nearby.
  • When driving at night, use your high-beam lights when there is no opposing traffic. The high beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway. Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. High-beam headlights will not necessarily frighten or deter deer, but will allow you to better see the animal.
  • Deer tend to fixate on headlights; don’t flash your lights, as It may startle the animal causing it to move or jump.
  • Keep an eye down the road ahead and scan the roadsides as well, especially when driving by adjacent fields and heavily wooded areas. Early detection and driving at a speed that gives you time to react is paramount.
  • If you spot a deer on the road, slow down but do not swerve. Swerving to miss the deer can result in loss of control of the vehicle and may lead to greater harm and damage.
  • Don't stop or pull over to observe the deer. This can be dangerous and expose your vehicle to traffic approaching from behind. It is best to pass the deer safely and move on without disrupting traffic.

Basic Car Safety

  • Always wear your seat belt and keep your vehicle well maintained.
  • Keep your vehicle glass clean to help reduce sun glare and to give you better vision at night.
  • Stay focused on the road (and right to left) in front of you.

By following the tips listed above, you can reduce your risk of car-meets-deer accident. Drive at a safe speed and give yourself time to react.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, Facts + Statistics: Deer Vehicle Collisions

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