You see them all the time – signs indicating “Deer Crossing Ahead.” And while a part of you may think that encountering a deer while driving 65 miles per hour is nothing to ever really worry about, the fact is that it happens to plenty of people. Unfortunately, there are 1.5 million deer versus car accidents every year.
Here’s what you should do if you hit a deer:
- Pull over to a safe location and put your hazard lights on. This is, of course, assuming that your car is still operable. If it’s not, and if your car is stopped on the road, see if you can push it onto the shoulder to get yourself out of the path of traffic.
- Check yourself; are you injured? If so, get on the phone and dial 911.
- If you’re not injured, you should still make a call – to the police or highway patrol. Even if there’s no immediate road obstruction, you’ll want to have the police file a report so that you can provide it to your car insurance company.
- If the deer is still on the road, don’t take any action to try to move it out of the road yourself unless you’re absolutely positive that there’s no traffic coming either way. The last thing you want is to survive an impact with a deer only to be injured in the process of trying to clear the mess off the road.
- If the deer is seriously injured but still alive, don’t approach it. They may look cute when they’re frolicking around, but the fact is that deer are still unpredictable animals who can cause you harm even when they’re not ticked off because you just ran over them with your car.
- If you have a roadside emergency kit, put out flares on the side of the road in either direction to warn approaching vehicles to slow down.
- Contact your car insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. A single struck deer can cause a heck of a lot of damage to your car, and you’ll want to file a claim as soon as possible.
As always, driving cautiously when you see a “Deer Crossing Ahead” sign is the best course of action to avoid a collision in the first place. This means paying attention to the road ahead of you and being ready to take evasive action if Bambi steps out in front of your path.