On October 30, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued a press release stating that collisions with deer and other animals spike in November. Two days later, on November 1, my sister hit a deer with her car. Fortunately, she and her husband were both wearing their seatbelts, and both came through the crash unharmed. (Their Geo Prizm wasn’t so fortunate.)
What can you do to survive an encounter between your vehicle and one of the five North American deer species? Common sense is key.
1) Pay attention. Most deer collisions occur between dusk and dawn, so be particularly alert during those hours, and those yellow “crossing” signs are there for a reason–don’t ignore them. When you suspect deer are around, slow down!
2) Brake, steer, stop. If a deer does step out in front of your vehicle, the Iowa DNR recommends three easy steps: break firmly, steer to maintain control, stop as safely as possible. Don’t speed up, and don’t swerve!
3) Buckle up! Every person in your vehicle should be properly restrained by a seatbelt or child restraint. The IIHS found that 60% of the people killed in animal-vehicle collisions weren’t wearing their seatbelts. Seatbelts and child seats also reduce the risk of injury or death in non-animal related crashes. Always buckle up.
Deer & Moose Crossing Signs image by jimmywayne22 and used under a Creative Commons License.