How to Steer Clear of Deer (and Save 3,000 Bucks)

Here are a few dos and don’ts for avoiding costly accidents with deer during the winter driving season.

November marks the last weeks of fall (in most corners of the country) and the beginning of the winter driving season. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as many as 65 million Americans will travel for the holidays. Coincidentally, November also signals the beginning of deer-mating season, and a related increase in accidents involving cars and deer.

More people driving; more deer getting busy — when you put it together it all makes sense. In fact, the number of animal-collision insurance claims is nearly 3 times higher in November than in other months.

When deer (or any other friendly beasts of the forest) meet the front side of your car, nobody wins. The average deer/car run-in could cost you more than $3,000. And that’s not to mention the emotional cost involved with running over Bambi.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for avoiding costly accidents, and perhaps sparing yourself a few tears in the process.

  • Watch for deer crossing signs and remember that deer are most active between dusk and dawn, particularly between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
  • Buckle up. It’s been estimated that in fatal animal crashes, 60% of people killed weren’t wearing seatbelts.
  • Don’t count on deer whistles. There’s no conclusive evidence they work, and instead they can provide a false sense of security.
  • Don’t swerve or slam on the brakes since you could lose control of the vehicle. Brake firmly and steer straight.

Invaluable insurance tip

Although many people think a deer accident is covered under their collision insurance, it’s actually a part of their comprehensive coverage. (Hey, we didn’t make the rules.)

Make sure — especially if you live in an area densely populated with deer — that your comprehensive coverage is up to par and can cover the numerous potential expenses involved with a collision.

In summary, enjoy the winter holidays, but stay safe on the road and watch out for deer dalliances. Spare yourself the unnecessary headache of an accident and save a few bucks in the process. (Yes, pun intended.)

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