In Wisconsin, car accidents involving deer are all too common. In fact, according to State Farm, Wisconsin is now in the top 5 states in the country for deer-involved car accidents, and nationwide, there were over 2 million animal collision car insurance claims made in 2021. According to Consumer Reports, during any given year, a Wisconsin driver has a 1 in 54 chance of hitting an animal on a Wisconsin roadway.
Because deer are such large animals, if you hit a deer on the roadway, it can cause significant damage to your vehicle. At high speeds, hitting a deer can even cause injury to drivers and passengers. Typically, deer-involved car accidents increase during the fall months, as deer tend to be more active toward the end of the year. In this blog post, we’ll explain how to minimize the risk of a deer collision and what to do if a deer-involved accident occurs.
Keep in mind that deer are herd animals
Deer are herd animals, so they never travel alone. Because of that, if you see one deer crossing the highway in front of you, it is highly likely that more deer are not too far in front of or behind it. So when you see a deer crossing the highway, make sure to reduce speed, turn on your high beam headlights, and remain vigilant that more deer may be present in the area.
Use your brakes!
If a deer runs into the road in front of your car, it’s a better idea to use your brakes instead of your steering wheel. Especially on narrow roads, a sudden swerve may put you into the line of oncoming traffic or even off the road completely. A head-on collision could end up being more severe than a direct crash with a deer.
Be mindful of other vehicles
For the same reasons that deer are dangerous to your own vehicle, they’re dangerous to other vehicles too. Even if a deer isn’t in front of your vehicle, when one runs in front of another vehicle, that car’s actions could end up causing an accident. Be mindful of other vehicles that may cross the center line, brake quickly, or otherwise veer off the roadway in an effort to avoid hitting deer. The best way to avoid multi-car collisions is by maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles and keeping defensive driving habits in mind.
After a crash, get to a safe place
After a crash with a deer occurs, you should first and foremost ensure that you and your passengers stay safe. If you are able to, move your car to the side of the roadway and use your car’s hazard lights to notify other drivers that your vehicle is present. After ensuring safety, you should handle the accident in the same manner as any other car crash. Document evidence by taking photos of your car, the damage, and your surroundings – including the animal or any evidence related to it. Call the police and file a report of the crash, providing the officer with as much detail as possible.
Contact a lawyer
Even though car crashes involving deer usually don’t involve negligent parties from which you can seek compensation, it might be a good idea to contact a Wisconsin car accident attorney to evaluate your rights. You may run into issues with your insurance company, and you never know what types of problems can arise when dealing with car damage or injuries after your hit a deer.