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6 Ways to Avoid Hitting a Deer

Posted in blog,Safety Tips on November 12, 2021

As drivers we know that there are many conditions to be aware of on the road. In West Virginia, a motorist is more likely to hit a deer compared to motorists in any other state. On average, 1 in 37 West Virginia drivers will hit a deer. Car crashes involving animals bring close to $3,000 in vehicle repairs nationwide. This average continues to increase and is highest throughout West Virginia.

Unlike other preventative measures, car crashes involving deer are unpredictable. The spontaneity of the animal can cause damage, injury, and even death.

Here are 6 simple guidelines to be familiar with, so you are prepared in this type of situation:

  1. Where There is One, There Are Many: Deer are a pack animal and rarely travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, you can almost guarantee there are more nearby. Make sure to slow down and keep an eye out for other deer that could dart out in front of you.
  2. Understand Their Timing: Deer are most active at dusk and dawn; they are especially on the move during mating season (between October and January) when you are more likely to travel after the sun sets. Slow down and stay alert.
  3. Use Your Headlights: Look for deer crossing signs. These signs are yellow, diamond shaped, and have a deer image on them. They are usually placed where deer crossing is common. You may also spot a deer because their eyes brightly reflect car headlights.
  4. Stay Center: On a multi-lane road, the center lane is your safest bet for avoiding a deer collision (state law permitted). This gives deer plenty of space, and in the case your vehicle does startle them, it gives you more time to react.
  5. Break – Don’t Swerve: If you see a deer, break firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Swerving could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, making the situation worse. With the unpredictable movements of deer, you could be swerving right into their path.
  6. Honk! Some experts recommend that one long blast of the horn will scare deer out of the road. Do not rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer. Studies have shown them to be largely ineffective at minimizing accidents.

If the above guidelines fail you, take the following steps in the aftermath of a deer collision.

  • Pull to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Turn on your hazard lights and remain in the vehicle until you are sure it is safe.
  • Call emergency services if injuries are involved or the local police for property damage.
  • Stay away from the deer. If it is still alive, it could be confused, injured, and dangerous if approached.
  • When contacting the authorities, inform them of the location of the deer so it can be removed from the road.