November is an active month for deer. Drivers may have very little time to react when deer linger, step onto, or leap across the roadway. The Illinois Insurance Association reminds motorists to be cautious during deer season. Keep the following tips in mind:
• Always wear a seat belt, and insist that passengers do the same
• Be vigilant, especially between 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. when deer are most active
• Drive with high beam headlights at night whenever possible
• Deer crossing signs are placed in areas where deer are common. Use caution in these areas
• Slow down, and honk the horn if a deer appears along the roadside. More are probably nearby
If the deer cannot be avoided, hit the animal straight on rather than swerving to avoid it. Apply brakes firmly, grasp the steering wheel tightly, and stay in your lane. Do not touch an injured deer. Call 911 to request medical assistance if anyone is hurt. Dodging the deer may cause you to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a bridge, post, tree, or oncoming car. Serious injuries and major vehicle damage are likely.
Keep in mind that a liability-only auto insurance policy does not pay for damage to your vehicle. Repairs from a deer crash are covered only if your auto insurance policy provides comprehensive coverage for the vehicle involved in the accident. The loss is a collision claim if you swerve to avoid the deer and hit a vehicle or other object.
Kevin J. Martin
Editor’s note: Martin is executive director, Illinois Insurance Association