If you get into a collision with a large animal like a deer, the results can be deadly — not just for the animal but for the driver and any passengers and even for occupants in other vehicles who could also be affected by the wreck.
According to State Farm, the risk of drivers striking a deer goes way up in the fall and early months of winter. That’s because it’s mating season and bucks and does are on the move, often crossing highways and heavily trafficked roads. By some estimations, between July of 2016 and the end of June the following year, there were 1.35 million collisions between deer and drivers. The cost per claim averaged over $4,000.
These collisions are not as avoidable as many are, and they can cause secondary impacts with other motorists in the vicinity. If you strike a deer or other animal with your vehicle, here’s what you can do:
- If drivable, get your car out of the road and over to the side. You should also put on your hazard lights and get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
- Check on people in other cars. If another car was involved in the accident, check to see if those in it are injured seriously.
- Dial 911. Tell the operator your location and whether the animal is still in the road, as it could lead to other crashes.
- Do not approach the animal. A wounded wild animal can still be very dangerous.
- Take photos of the scene. If it is safe to do so, snap several shots from different angles of the accident scene.
- Arrange for a tow. It’s never safe to assume that a vehicle is all right to drive after a major hit like that. You could easily worsen the damage by trying to drive it.
If you wind up injured in an accident due to a driver striking a deer or other animal this season, learn about your rights to pursue compensation for your injuries, damages and other losses.