Oct 10, 2018

Deer Crossing: Deer-Vehicle Crashes Peak in the Fall


Deer Crossing: Deer-Vehicle Crashes Peak in the Fall

COLUMBUS, Ohio (October 9, 2018) – Cooler weather and shorter days mean more deer are now gracing Ohio’s roadways. The number of deer-vehicle collisions peak during the fall, which means drivers need to use caution and remain alert during the months ahead.

“Although deer and other animals are unpredictable, there are actions you can take to help prevent a crash or reduce the damage from an animal collision,” said Ed Conley, director, Insurance Sales and Financial Services for AAA Ohio Auto Club.

The Data:

While any animal on the road is dangerous, deer are most often the cause of collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 occupant deaths and tens of thousands of injuries.

In 2017, more than 18,000 collisions with deer occurred on Ohio’s roadways, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety crash statistics. These collisions resulted in seven deaths and 804 injuries.

October through December are peak months for deer-vehicle crashes, due to the clearing of fields and deer mating season. Last year, about 22 percent of Ohio’s deer-vehicle collisions occurred in November, when the Ohio Department of Public Safety recorded nearly 4,000 of these crashes. 

Colliding with a deer is also very costly. In 2017, the average insurance claim for a deer-vehicle collision in Ohio was more than $4,400.  

How to avoid animal collisions:

  • Scan the road ahead: Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if an animal is spotted. Also, remember some animals, like deer, move in groups, so when there is one, there are usually more in the area.
  • Use high beam headlights if there’s no oncoming traffic: This can help you spot deer or other wildlife sooner and give you time to slow down, move over or honk the horn to scare the animal away. High beams also help in spotting animals’ reflective eyes.
  • Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk: Deer tend to be more active in the early morning and at dusk; especially between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane: Swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or cause you to lose control of your vehicle. What’s more, drivers who swerve to miss a deer and hit something else may be charged for an at-fault accident.
  • Consider purchasing comprehensive insurance, if you don’t already have it. Comprehensive insurance is the type of insurance that covers animal collisions.
  • Always wear a seat belt and remain awake, alert and sober: According to the Insurance Information Institute, the chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on. If you’re distracted or drowsy, you’re not properly scanning the road for deer, and could end up spotting them too late.

What to do if you hit a deer:

  • Move your vehicle to the side of the road away from the animal.
  • Call the police and let them know what happened.
  • Stay away from the deer and wait for the police to arrive.
  • Contact your insurance company and file a claim.
  • Double-check your car to make sure it’s safe to drive.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.


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