The worst month for car-deer collisions

October marks the beginning of the peak season for deer-related accidents due to both deer mating and migrating season. According to the Insurance Information Institute, between 2017 and 2018, there were more than 1.3 million deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S. In Iowa, the State Patrol covered 235 crashes last year during the months of October and November involving animals and deer.

Our buddies at Farm Bureau Financial Services were kind enough to send over some tips on avoiding deer-vehicle collisions, as well as a few reminders on how to stay in control if an encounter with a deer occurs:

  1. Drive with caution, especially in marked deer-crossing zones and along roads surrounded by farmland or forests. Harvest season can spur more deer from the fields. Be extra cautious this fall.
  2. Be alert during high travel times, as deer tend to be particularly active between 6 – 9 p.m.These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
  3. Use your high beams for nighttime driving whenever possible.
  4. Be aware that deer tend to travel in herds. If you see one deer, it’s likely that more will follow.

Always wear your seat belt. The Insurance Information Institute reports that most deaths caused by animal-vehicle accidents were people who were not wearing a seat belt.

If a crash is unavoidable:

  1. Don’t swerve. Stay in your lane so you don’t move into the path of another vehicle or lose control of yours.
  2. Brake firmly and hold onto the steering wheel.
  3. Remain calm and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop. Call the police and connect with your insurance agent to report the accident. 

Additional information about avoiding deer-vehicle collisions can be found on their website here.