In our six-state coverage area (Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin), there’s one thing that happens pretty regularly throughout the fall: a car/deer encounter. Often you see the deer quickly enough to stop before it crosses your path, or it leaps out of the way as you drive past. But sometimes the unexpected happens.
Your Hastings Mutual Personal Auto policy helps you recover if there’s a car accident — if you crash and the car is undrivable. There’s more (much more) to the coverage than that, of course, but that is probably what you are looking for when you get Personal Auto insurance: coverage if there’s an accident.
If a deer crosses your path on the road, what do you do? The answer is simple: Use your brake but stay in your lane, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). You don’t want to kill an animal or damage your vehicle, but many crashes happen after swerving to avoid a deer and hitting another vehicle or an obstacle on the side of the road instead. Staying in your lane is the better option.
If you and other drivers are not at risk for hitting a deer, but it’s not moving off the road, try simply honking your horn to startle it and scare it away. According to the III, deer whistles, deer fences, and reflectors have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
Here are a few things that are true whether you’re trying to avoid a deer or simply get to work: wear your seat belt correctly and pay attention to the road. Use high beams to spot deer — but remember to decrease the brightness of your headlights if there’s oncoming traffic.
If, despite all your precautions, you still hit a deer, don’t touch it. If it’s still alive, it can panic and possibly hurt you or itself. Move your car off the road if you can and call local safety officials. Then contact your insurance agent to report the incident — only after you are safe to do so.
Hopefully you’re not in a situation where you have a car-deer collision. A few simple driving tips can help keep you safe when you are sharing the road with something unexpected.
How did you handle your car/deer collision?
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