You can pay attention to the road, drive defensively, do everything right… And still there is the chance that a deer jumps out of nowhere and in front of your car, and a collision is inevitable.
From the folks at Carparts.com do these 8 things if you hit a deer:
1. Check yourself and passengers for possible injuries. This information is important for filing a passenger injury claim if you need to. Do this before exiting the vehicle.
2. Turn your hazard lights on. One of the most critical items in your to-do list, to signal approaching vehicles on both sides of the road of the hazard ahead.
3. If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road. If the engine is still running after the crash, your best option is to drive it to the side of the road for safety. Then place warning triangles around your car and the deer to indicate the hazards.
4. Dial 911. Once your car is safely parked on the side, call 911, or if you are unable to, ask a passerby or one of your passengers to contact authorities. Explain what happened to the dispatcher and wait for the police to arrive. The police will make the appropriate incident report, which is important for your insurance claim. They can also help you get a safe ride home if your car is badly damaged.
5. Document the scene while waiting for authorities. The police will document the scene, but that doesn’t mean you can’t document it on your own. Taking photos will be helpful for your insurance claim. If there are witnesses, be sure to get a statement and their contact information in case they need to retell the events.
6. Don’t touch or lift the deer from its position. Deer are powerful animals and a kick from their hooves can injure you. For your safety, stand a few feet away from an injured animal when taking photos for documentation.
7. Give your car a thorough check. Inspect your car and ensure lights, turn signals, engine, and suspension are working fine before attempting to drive away from the scene. Make sure there are no fluid leaks. If your car is not working properly, call a tow truck.
8. Call your insurance company. After you’ve called 911 and documented the scene, call your insurance agent right away. Keep in mind that insurance policies vary, but deer-related crashes usually fall under comprehensive insurance, not collision. Review your policy with your agent to be sure you’re covered.
DID YOU KNOW?
Every year one out of 164 drivers is expected to hit a deer. If you drive in one of these top 5 states with the highest probability of a deer-related accident, the odds are dramatically higher:
1. West Virginia – 1 in 46
2. Montana – 1 in 57
3. Pennsylvania – 1 in 63
4. Wisconsin – 1 in 72
5. Iowa – 1 in 73