It’s the annual battle of the bumpers versus the bucks, the does against the doors. Both parties lose when car and deer collide, but a measure of defensive driving can reduce the risks.
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts says the frequency and severity of deer-related accidents are growing as quickly as the deer population in some markets. And, with cold-weather months approaching – providing peak season for deer-vehicle crashes – this risk is on the rise.
“In fact, more than 40 percent of CARSTAR store owners report a 25-percent increase in deer-related accidents, while nearly 12 percent report a 50-percent increase and 5 percent have seen a whopping 75-percent increase in their areas,” said Dean Fisher, chief operating officer for CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. “That deer-related accident can be costly – nearly 70 percent of CARSTAR store owners estimate that the average cost of a deer-related collision repair is between $2,500 and $4,999, while some 5 percent of repairs are between $5,000 and $10,000.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there were 1.5 million deer-related accidents in 2016, costing drivers and insurance companies more than $1 billion in repairs.
Where is highest risk of encountering a deer? The Midwest has historically claimed the top spots, but deer populations are expanding across the country, including:
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
Drive Defensively to Avoid Deer Dangers
This year, some 1.5 million drivers will hit a deer, and November is the peak month for deer-related accidents. But drivers can avoid an accident with a buck by following some smart driving tips this fall and winter.
Early morning and dusk are the worst times for deer accidents, as visibility is limited and deer are frequently on the move. It’s important to drive defensively and anticipate the potential for deer in the road.
CARSTAR offers the following tips to reduce the deer danger:
- Use extra caution at dawn and dusk and around golf courses, fields and wooded areas.
- Remember that deer travel in packs – if you spot one, there are likely more behind it.
- Don’t swerve to avoid striking a deer, as that increases the risk of hitting another vehicle or losing control of the car.
- If there is no opposing traffic, use high beams at night to better illuminate deer.
- Don’t rely on devices such as deer whistles, which are attached to the outside of a car, to try to scare off deer with an ultrasonic or high-frequency sound. They have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
- If a deer remains on the highway after you strike it, report the incident to the game commission or a local law enforcement agency, as the deer poses a danger to other motorists. If the deer is still alive, don’t go near it, because a wild animal with sharp hooves can inflict injuries.
- If an accident with a deer does occur, it pays to be protected. Many drivers don’t realize that carrying only collision coverage does not cover damage from a deer accident, leaving them with a damaged vehicle and a large repair bill. To fully cover any potential damage, drivers should carry comprehensive insurance that covers such crashes. For those driving an older vehicle who feel their cars aren’t worth the cost of the insurance, it’s smart to keep an “accident fund” if something does occur.
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts offers repair service at more than 500 locations in 32 states and 10 Canadian provinces.