Sevens Steps to Take When You Hit a Deer or Other Large Animal

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 the 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 driver and passengers of a vehicle. Collisions with deer are a significant threat to motorists, and these collisions are particularly frequent during late May and early June, and again in October and November.

The later spring and early summer period are usually when fawns are born.  Unfortunately, few have much experience with roads or 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:

  1. If at all possible, move your vehicle off the road and somewhere safe before you do anything else. If there is no turn-off or passing lane, at least pull your car to the side of the road and put on your hazard lights.
  2. If someone is injured, call for medical assistance now. If the injury seems like it might be severe or life-threatening, call 911.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Contact your insurance company. The odds of your claim being handled satisfactorily are better if you report the collision right away.
  7. Check on your vehicle’s drivability and safety 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 the vehicle is safe.

View our 10 Steps to Take After You’re in an Accident for more details.

If your vehicle has been damaged, we are here to help. We’re experts at repairing considerable collision damage and will be able to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.  We are also the Northwoods only mobile estimating service for auto collision repair.  We’ll come to you!

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