What to Do If You Hit a Deer

October is a beautiful time of year – cooling temperatures, changing leaf colors, and of course, deer crossing. October through January is deer mating season, which means they will be increasingly active, especially at dawn and dusk. Animal collisions can be incredibly scary and dangerous. Here are a few tips on what to do if you encounter a deer while driving.

What to do when you see a deer

If you see a deer dart out in front of your vehicle, your first instinct may be to swerve in your panic – but DON’T do this. Swerving may actually confuse the deer, so it won’t know where to run. Swerving could potentially lead to a head-on collision with any oncoming traffic or cause you to lose control and run off the road. When you first spot a deer, if you can, simply slow down. Avoid slamming your breaks as well as this could cause any drivers behind you to crash into your vehicle.

If you’re able to slow down with enough time, don’t flash your lights. “Deer in headlights” is a phrase for a reason. Your high beam lights could cause the deer to freeze, so keep your lights on low.

If there is no time to slow down, and a collision with the deer is unavoidable, don’t swerve – as hard as it is, the best thing to do it hit the deer straight on. Try to slow down as much as you can before impact, and just before hitting the deer, take your foot off the brake. This will cause the nose of your vehicle to come back up so there’s less chance of the deer hitting your windshield.

What to do if you hit a deer

First, move your vehicle to a safe place. If you pull off to the side of the road, be sure your hazard lights are on. If the road you are traveling on is windy or potentially dangerous, you may need to continue driving to find a safe place to stop.

Second, call the police if you or the deer is injured, if the deer is blocking traffic, or if there is any property damage. This will allow you the chance to fill out an official report which may be helpful when filing an insurance claim.

Next, document the incident, as long as it’s safe to do so. Take pictures of any damage, the road, the deer, injuries, and anything else in your surroundings that may help during the insurance claim process. Even if you feel nothing is wrong with your vehicle, it’s best to take photographs in case something comes up after the fact.

Before leaving the scene, double-check your vehicle for any leaking fluids, loose parts, broken lights, damaged tires, or anything else that may make your car undrivable.

During the whole process, stay clear of the deer. Let the authorities take care of the animals when they arrive.

If you are involved in a collision and have damage to your car, be sure to come into Performance Auto right away so we can get you back on the road.

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