Auto accidents with deer increase October through December
Car collisions with deer spike this time of year.
According to State Farm, your odds of having an accident with an animal over a year period are 1 out of 123 in Tennessee and 1 in 90 in Georgia.
The majority of animal accidents are with deer.
Jim Hartley, owner and agent of River City Insurance in Red Bank, says they typically handle more than one auto claim a week associated with deer.
Locally, the number will vary from agency to agency depending on the number of clients, and those numbers add up over time.
"1.5 million accidents a year in the United States hitting deer, and causing over a billion dollars in damage," Hartley gave the national statistics.
Steps can be taken to decrease the risk of deer collision, which is especially important because right now is the peak season for accidents.
"Over half of them occur between October and December. That's the rut and that's when they're being hunted, and so they run out into the road," explained Hartley.
Deer tend to travel in groups, so if you see one deer, assume that there are more. The time of the day also plays a role.
"Early in the morning, late in the evening at dusk that's when they move around, and so you need to be aware when you are driving into work, driving home that they're on the move," Hartley advised.
The biggest thing you can do is to stay alert to your surroundings and don't multi-task while driving.
Deer crossing signs are strategically placed in areas known for deer traffic.
"The gimmicks don't work. Whistles don't work, so forget that. Being aware, paying attention. They do say, if you can, high beams help. Turn your high beams on, and I would really encourage you to slow down," recommended Hartley.
Lastly, as always, wear your seat belt.
Unfortunately, a lot of times accidents with deer can't be avoided.
"This is hard, but when you do have a deer collision, don't swerve because the big claims, when people really get hurt is when they swerve to miss a deer and then they hit a tree," Hartley warned.
If you do hit a deer, stay calm, move the vehicle to the shoulder if possible, and stay away from the injured deer.
Call for help if needed and assess the car's damage and take photos.
"If you've got comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy. It's usually got a low deductible, maybe $250, and then we'll repair it after that," said Hartley.
If you are unsure whether your policy includes comprehensive coverage or not, reach out to your local insurance agent. Also, check the coverage for all cars on your policy.