Letter: How to avoid crashes with deer

Keyboard - letter to the editor

To the Editor:

Statistics confirm an uptick in deer-related crashes in November. The Illinois Insurance Association and its member companies encourage motorists to be alert in the weeks ahead.

Deer are most active at dawn, dusk and nighttime hours. There may be little time to react.

Habits to help drivers when deer suddenly appear on or along the roadway:

• Always wear a seat belt.

• Avoid distractions.

• Slow down, especially in areas where deer commonly gather.

• Blast the horn if you see deer near the roadway. The sudden noise may scare others nearby.

• Drive with high beam headlights at night whenever possible. Deer eyes reflect bright light.

• Never swerve to avoid a deer. Instead, firmly grip the steering wheel, brake steadily and hit the animal head-on. Stay in your lane and come to a controlled stop. Suddenly turning the steering wheel may cause you to lose control. Better to hit the deer than a tree, post or another vehicle.

• Pull over to a safe place and call for assistance after a deer crash. Request medical help for injuries. Do not get out to check on the animal. Stay inside your car until help comes or it’s safe to move the vehicle.

People often turn to an insurance company after a deer hit. Comprehensive insurance covers damage when there is direct contact with the deer. Without this evidence, the claim is a collision loss. Liability-only insurance provides no coverage for damage to your vehicle.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive director

Illinois Insurance Association