7 Steps to take when you hit a deer or another large animal
All told, it is estimated that more than 40,000 deer will be killed in collisions with motor vehicles every year. Worse, nearly 1 in 100 of these incidents – more than 400 every year – result in injuries to the drivers or passengers of those vehicles.
It is always distressing when your car hits an animal, but it usually isn’t particularly dangerous to you. However, when the size of the animal involved increases, so does the danger to the drivers and passengers of a vehicle. Collisions with deer are a significant threat to motorists, and these collisions with those species of deer which breed seasonally are particularly frequent in late May and early June, and again in October and November.
The later spring and early summer period are when this year’s batch of young, inexperienced deer leave their mothers’ breeding herds and move off on their own. Unfortunately, few of them have much experience with roads or motor vehicles, and that means they are even more likely than usual to freeze or panic when faced with an oncoming car. The autumn months are the rutting season, and are a time when the deer move around quite a bit, in a rather… distracted state.
With that in mind, we’ve collected the seven steps you should take after you’ve hit a deer on the road:
- If at all possible, get your vehicle off the main part of the road and somewhere safe before you do anything else. If there is no turn-off or passing place, at least pull your car to the side of the road, and put on your hazard lights.
- If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance now. If the injury seems like it might be severe or life-threatening, call 911.
- Do not approach the animal. Do not check if it is hurt, and do not attempt to aid it, or to move it off the road. Injured deer can be very dangerous, and many kind-hearted motorists have been injured or even killed when getting too close to a struck deer. A single kick can kill.
- Call the police as soon as you are safe. Tell them what happened, and whether the deer itself is blocking traffic. If there were any human injuries or damage to property, there would be a form you’ll need to fill out.
- If you can do so safely, take photos or video of the scene, the deer, and any damage to your car or other property. Also, get the names and contact information of any witnesses. You will need this for your insurance claim.
- Contact your car insurance company. The odds of your claim being handled satisfactorily are better if you report collisions straight away.
- Check on your vehicle’s drivability and safety very carefully before starting the engine or driving it. In particular, check for tire damage, broken lights, loose parts or pieces, and any fluid leak. Only continue on your journey of you are sure it is safe to do so.
If your vehicle has been damaged, we, of course, welcome you to contact Rhinelander Collision Center at 715-369-1144 as soon as possible. We are experts at repairing considerable animal collision damage and will be able to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.