Even though deer strikes can happen any time of year, “deer season” peaks in mid-October through mid-December.
Often, deer strikes lead to confusing questions, such as: “Why would the deer run into my car?” or “Why did it just stand there?”
For deer, standing still is a defense mechanism – an attempt to blend in with its surroundings so you won’t see it. Scurrying at the last minute is a defense mechanism too. Each behavior equates to the deer being truly unpredictable when a vehicle is approaching. because you never know what’s going to happen.
Things to Remember
- Timing – Deer are most active from dusk until dawn, when temperatures are cooler and predators are not as active. This also means they travel when it’s the most difficult for you to see them.
- Deer run in packs – Rarely do they travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, watch out for more nearby.
- Stay the course – If you see a deer, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Swerving could make you lose control of your vehicle and turn a bad situation into one that’s much worse. You don’t want to swerve directly into them if they change their path.
- Honk – Some experts recommend that one long blast of the horn will scare deer out of the road.
If there is an impact:
- Safely pull over – If your vehicle has not been rendered “non-drivable” by the deer, find a safe spot to pull off the road as soon as possible.
- Turn off the engine – Inspect the vehicle. Easily visible damaged items include headlamps, bumpers, hoods and fenders. However, under the hood, the radiator may have gotten damaged and could be leaking fluid. This could potentially cause the vehicle to overheat and damage the engine.
- Stay away – If the deer is still alive, stay away. It could be confused and injured and it should not be approached.
- Emergency services – Call emergency services if injuries are involved. Call the local police for property damage.
- Insurance – Contact your insurer as soon as possible to arrange a vehicle inspection.
Additional information about avoiding deer is available on GEICO More.