Oh Deer: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Deer Collisions

fallow-deer-602253_640With summer travels filling up spaces on everyone’s calendar, the mountains are calling for many Florida residents, and they’ll be hitting the road soon to enjoy the cooler air, beautiful views and foliage, and the wildlife found in the surrounding forests. However, when man and wildlife collide (literally), problems can ensue. One of the most common wildlife issues are deer-related accidents on roadways. Hitting a deer is something many drivers along the east-coast have experienced, but when it happens for the first time, most people aren’t prepared. Here are 5 things you might not know about deer collisions…

  1. They cause more damage than you might expect. Hitting an average-sized doe can result in extensive damage to your car, especially if you’re driving a compact vehicle or a sedan. Vehicles have been totaled by a single deer collision, depending on the speed, where the deer hit, etc. While larger SUVs and trucks tend to fare a little better in these types of accidents, shattered headlights, cracked and broken bumpers, front end dents, and other repairable, but potentially expensive, damage is not only possible, but likely.
  2. Deer collisions can, and do, result in fatalities…and we aren’t just talking about the deer. While actually hitting the deer isn’t frequently the cause of death for people, secondary accidents by trying to suddenly stop or swerve to avoid hitting the deer are a common issue, and result in many drivers perishing each year. If you find yourself in a situation where a collision with a deer (or other animal) is inevitable, stop if you can do so without secondary consequences, or carefully change lanes to allow more time or a less direct hit. However, if you can’t safely do either of these options, hitting the deer, however unfortunate, is better than risking your life or the lives of other drivers.
  3. You can’t just keep driving. If you collide with a deer, even if damages aren’t extensive, you still need to stop and report the accident to local law enforcement. First, you have to have the accident report to file any types of claims with your insurance company. Additionally, if you or any passengers were injured, you’ll want to have documentation on hand for filing insurance or for any resulting legal issues with passengers in the car (aka, them suing you for damages).
  4. Your insurance doesn’t necessarily cover deer collisions. In states where liability insurance is the only required coverage for drivers, deer collisions could end up coming out of pocket. These policies don’t (usually) pay out for accidents like hitting a deer (or other animal) and that is bad news if you end up with a totaled car. Drivers with comprehensive coverage plans can typically rest easy that the accident will be covered, and they won’t be penalized with higher premiums since the accident was not an “at-fault” situation.
  5. You can (occasionally) prevent deer collisions. Yes, there are often times where accidents with animals can’t be avoided, since they are unpredictable and easily spooked. However, there are some measures you can take to prevent animals from running into your path while driving. Remember to use your brights whoever possible on roads at night, particularly in rural areas where deer collisions are likely. Your lights can be a deterrent and the better “heads up” you give deer, the more likely they are to flee before you reach them. Follow speed limits carefully, especially when driving at night where deer are frequently spotted. Be on alert and watch not only the road in front of you, but also the areas around the road ahead of you (embankments, wooded shoulders, etc.) since deer can seemingly come out of nowhere in these environments.

If you or someone you love has experienced a deer collision already during your summer travels, and are trying to determine what damages their policy will cover, if any, Carroll Marshall Insurance is here for you. We can also help clients figure out what their policy covers before they ever leave, so they can vacation with confidence this summer, no matter where the road may take them. Give us a call or visit our downtown Winter Haven office. Enjoy a fun (and safe) adventure this summer!

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