Fall is the time of year when collisions involving deer tend to increase; to the point of being staggering! Deer have their own natural tendencies and can react unexpectedly, which means drivers need to consider what to do in the event of a collision with a deer or how to avoid one. In the event of a potential collision with a deer, the only thing that can be controlled is your reaction to the situation and being prepared for the possibility of the accident.
Obviously the first thought is to try and avoid the collision. However, you should never swerve to avoid hitting a deer! Crashing into a deer is far less damaging than hitting other objects like oncoming traffic, trees, traffic lights, etc. There are also more potential consequences for your insurance policy; as hitting an inanimate object with your vehicle is considered a collision. The best thing to do is to take your foot off the gas, brake to provide as much space as you can, and then drive straight through.
Coverage for deer accidents is usually covered by your policy. Deer Collisions (and other Animal Strikes) are covered under the “Comprehensive” or “All Risks” portion of your policy and are not considered to be “at fault accidents”. Check your policy to be sure you carry Comprehensive or All Perils coverage and also what deductible applies. You should check with your Lambton Mutual agent or broker to verify what is included in your policy. It is advisable to consider coverage for a tow as this is highly likely, or to confirm what roadside assistance you have.
Am I required to call the police? Usually police reports are not required for minor deer claims. However, we recommend reporting a deer collision and have it filed with the local police.
Here are some tips on avoiding deer accidents:
- Watch your speed, slow down and keep a safe distance.
- Be extra vigilant when driving, especially at night – pay attention to the “deer crossing” signs – it means that you can expect to see deer in the area. They are typically most active at dusk and at dawn.
- Use your high-beam headlights when you can in deer territory to increase your visibility and time to react to a deer.
- In the event of an unavoidable collision keep the car straight, don’t swerve, brake and slow down. Turning to avoid the deer is potentially much, much worse.
Fall driving is a vibrant and wonderful time of year that requires extra focus on the roads as it also means deer are potentially close to the highways. Being aware and prepared for a deer collision is your best defense against being in an accident. If you need more information or are looking to confirm or increase your policy coverage, please be sure to reach out to your Lambton Mutual agent or broker.