Not to rush your end of summer, but deer season is just around the corner (mid-Sept to Dec.) Neighborhoods in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and New York will be the most affected. These states report the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes in past year. While local officials have been proactive in preventative measures to control the deer population, avoiding a dangerous accident with a deer is ultimately up to the driver.
Deer activity is at its peak around sunrise and sunset, so before you set out on your next car ride here are some safety tips from Penske Automotive Group.
1. Game Plans Are Great
It’s important to know how to react to a deer popping out onto the road, before it happens. An emergency plan should include knowing how to use your anti-lock brakes, how to steer without swerving and other safe driving techniques. In this situation fast reactions and clear decision making are important, therefore remember to limit distractions while driving. A good idea if you are in this situation is to brake immediately and/or increase speed and accelerate past deer. Animals are unpredictable so be flexible, you solutions may have to adapt.
2. Don’t Steer Clear of Deer
While, hitting a deer is an experience that most drivers want to avoid, you should never risk your life or the lives of your passengers to save an animal’s life. Many deer-related accidents occur when drivers steer to avoid a deer and end up hitting another car or driving off the road. If you see the deer in time, you can try honking to frighten the deer. You should also learn how to use your ABS steering, which allows maximum steering ability during braking.
3. Light Up the Night
It helps if there is no oncoming traffic to drive with your high beams on. High beams will allow the driver to better see the eyes of the deer. Blink your high beams at the deer. Deer seem to be in a trance when they see your headlights. By blinking your headlights at them, it seems to wake them up to the danger heading toward them.
4. Follow the Speed Limit
Your car’s speed can have a big effect on how long you have to react to a sudden obstacle on the road and also the extent of the impact of an accident. It’s always a good idea to follow the speed limit. Deer can be unpredictable and usually travel in packs so if you see one more might be nearby.
5. Buckle-Up It’s The Law
In the unfortunate event of an accident, your seat belt can save your life so buckle-up at all times.
If you’re driving down the road and happen to hit a passing deer, don’t attempt to offer medical assistance to the animal. Instead, report the location of the deer’s body to the city, county or state highway department with jurisdiction for the road. If it is still conscious, it will likely flail above with its hooves and may even attempt to bite you when you try to help. Instead, clear your car from the road if it’s able to be driven and call the authorities to come deal with the situation.