Letter: Watch for deer on roadways


November is an active month for deer. Sightings occur throughout the state. The Illinois Insurance Association reminds motorists to be alert for deer in the coming weeks.

Drivers may have little time to react when deer are on or near the roadway. A horn blast or headlight flick may scare the animal away, but deer are unpredictable. A crash may be unavoidable. It’s important to have a backup plan.

Never swerve to miss the deer. You may lose control of the vehicle and crash into a bridge, post, tree, or oncoming car. Serious injury and vehicle damage are likely.

Instead, prepare to strike the deer head on. Grasp the steering wheel tightly, apply brakes firmly, and stay in your lane. Then find a safe place to pull off the road and call 911. Request medical assistance if you or passengers are injured. Stay inside the vehicle until help arrives. Do not touch an injured deer.

Other best practices:

* Always wear a seatbelt.

* Be vigilant at dusk and dawn when deer are most active.

* Slow down in areas where deer are known to gather.

* Use high beam headlights at night whenever possible.

Individuals often turn to an insurance company after a deer-related crash. Keep in mind that a liability-only auto policy doesn’t pay for repairs to your vehicle. Coverage may be available if your policy has physical damage protection. The comprehensive deductible applies when there is direct contact with the deer. If not, the policy’s collision deductible applies.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director

Illinois Insurance Association