More drivers hit wild animals during the fall season, according to AAA — and that can mean anything from a mild fender bender to a serious collision. Deer mating season runs from October to early January. Now is a good time for fleet managers to remind drivers how to avoid hitting a deer, and what to do in the event that it does happen.
Experts offer the following advice for avoiding a collision with wildlife crossing:
Slow down: This provides you with a longer reaction time in the event a deer or other wild animal runs in front of your vehicle.
Heed warning signs: Many rural roads feature deer crossing signage. Be on the lookout for signs and be extra vigilant when traversing those roadways.
Be cautious at dawn and dusk: This is when there is high animal movement, but low visibility. Be extra cautious when driving in the early morning or after dark.
Use high beams: When driving at night, make sure to use your high beams, which increase viewing distance of the road ahead. They can help you spot deer in advance.
Pay attention to the side of roads: Deer and other wildlife can suddenly dart into the road, so look off to either side from time to time.
Look for shine: Anything reflective or shiny up ahead could be “eye shine”—that is, a deer looking in your direction.
Eliminate all distractions: As always, set the cell phone, coffee cup and anything else aside and stay focused on the road.
If you are caught off guard and think you are going to strike a deer, experts offer the following advice:
- Do not swerve: It’s better to strike the deer than to hit a tree or pole.
- Brake firmly: But just before you make impact with the animal, take your foot off the brake. This technique reduces the risk of the deer smashing through your windshield.
- Seek help: After hitting a deer, if possible, leave your vehicle and head to a safe place on foot where you can call for help. If the vehicle is disabled or you are in a remote area, turn on your hazard lights, call the police, and keep your seat belt fastened.