Be Alert for Deer and Other Animals

Oct 13, 2014 By:

This time of year, there is an increase in deer movements, and it is imperative that we are alert. Animal and deer accidents can happen any day of the year at any time of the day. During the fall and winter months, it is even more important to be aware that there may be deer springing up in your path.   

The most important thing to remember is that if you are left with no safe options to avoid an animal collision, hit the animal. Do not swerve. It goes against human nature, but it’s safer to hit the animal, keep control of your vehicle and accept the damages. Do everything reasonable to avoid collision, but don't swerve out of your lane or leave the roadway. You can do more damage to your vehicle by driving off the road or into other traffic than if you just hit the animal. Driving onto a soft shoulder is a sure way to lose of control or rollover. It is never a pleasant experience to hit an animal with a vehicle—and certainly not one the size of a full-grown deer; however, your alternatives may mean serious injury to you or other drivers on the road.   

In the event you are forced to hit an animal, do not panic; reduce your speed as much as safely possible and keep your vehicle in your own lane. Get to the side of the road as soon as you safely can and stop your vehicle while being mindful of traffic that may have been following you—they may be dealing with the remains of the animal strike that ended up in their path. Turn on your emergency flashers and exit your vehicle to assess the damage only after you are sure there is no risk to you of being struck by other traffic. Call the local authorities or have a fellow driver phone them. And immediately report any accident/incident to the Ruan Customer Service Center.   

Here are some safe driving tips that will help you avoid colliding with an animal:

  • Slow down. Anticipate deer and other animals when driving through wooded and densely vegetated areas. Watch for deer crossing at locations where you have seen them before. 

  • If one deer runs across the road, slow down, cover your brake and look for other deer (deer seldom run alone, and there is likely to be another following close behind). If you see them on the shoulder or in the ditch, keep your guard up. They may bolt onto the roadway.

  • Be especially cautious from dusk through the early evening hours and in the hours prior to sunrise when deer and other animals are most active. 

  • Make sure your truck is equipped with deer whistles. They are an inexpensive alternative to the damage caused by hitting them.

  • If you encounter deer or other animals on the roadway, flash your headlights and blow your horn to scare them away. 

  • During rutting season (October through December), bucks move almost constantly in search of does. Deer are unpredictable. Watch for deer to do the unexpected.

  • Keep your eyes and head moving; don't focus on the middle of the road. 

  • Utilize high beams whenever possible to increase visibility from 200 feet to 400-500 feet. 

  • Wear your seat belt. Most people seriously injured in animal crashes were not buckled.