When asked the question “Does the deer have a little doe?” during one of his comedy routines, Jerome “Curly” Howard of “Three Stooges” fame answered, “Yeah, two bucks!” Unfortunately, if you hit a deer or another animal while driving your car, it could end up costing a lot more than just a few dollars, especially without the right kind of insurance coverage.
Deer/Motor Vehicle Collisions Increase in November
According to a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety press release, insurance claims for deer and animal collisions are approximately three times higher in November than other months; this increase coincides with the fall breeding season when animals tend to roam.
The official United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Web site contains some solid advice, though, on how to avoid animal collisions, including:
- Staying alert and watching out for deer crossing signs. If you see a deer near the road, honk your horn and slow down.
- Deer travel in groups, so if you see one, chances are good that more of them are nearby. Make sure to drive slowly and carefully until you reach a more urban area.
- Using your high beams when they don’t interfere with other drivers. This can give you more time to react to a deer caught in your headlights.
- As cold as it may sound, if you absolutely can’t avoid a collision, go ahead and hit the deer instead of hitting the brakes. This type of maneuver will give you better control of your car and possibly keep the animal from hitting your windshield.
- Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers do as well.
Dealing With a Deer Collision
If you become one of the estimated 1.5 million drivers to hit a deer each year, stay calm and minimize the damage to yourself and your vehicle. Move your car to the side of the road, turn your emergency lights on and immediately call the police (use road flares or reflective emergency triangles if you have them).
Unlike Chris Farley’s character in the road comedy “Tommy Boy,” don’t make the mistake of picking up the deer and putting it in the back seat of your car. The animal may only be stunned and could seriously injure you or your family in an attempt to get away. If possible, stay in your vehicle until the police or other emergency vehicles arrive.
A high speed encounter with a large animal like a deer also can do some serious damage to your vehicle. To minimize the expense of repairing or replacing your car, look into GEICO’s Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage for all the drivers in your family. Your insurance agent also can provide information about personal injury protection coverage, which can help pay for any medical treatment needed after an animal collision.