The fall season is underway and with that, it also means more deer will be wandering onto a roadway and may cause an accident between drivers and deer, which may result in injuries and fatalities. However, drivers can stay safe on the road by knowing what to do, when they encounter a deer.
Car accidents with deer happen frequently in Tennessee. In 2014, there were 6,429 deer-related crashes, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Deer-related crashes have steadily increased by 10.05 percent since 2010, according to the TDSHS.
These statistics may be worrisome for drivers who plan on hitting the road with their families in the coming months. However, by checking out these safety tips, you could avoid hitting a deer.
If you are are driving through an area known for having a high deer population, slow down and observe the speed limit. You should be especially alert and drive with caution, because you will have more time to brake if an animal darts into your path.
You should also be aware of whether or not there is any traffic behind you when you slow down for a deer. You don’t want to cause an accident by hitting the brakes.
Stay in the Center Lane
On a multi-lane road, the center lane is your safest bet for avoiding a deer collision, assuming your local traffic laws permit it, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The center lane gives you more time to react if a deer darts onto the road.
Driving in the center lane also gives drivers the opportunity to pay attention to road shoulders. A deer may be off to the side as your car approaches and it may suddenly attempt to run away by hopping into the road, according to the FHA.
A deer jumping out in front of your car may be a startling moment for a driver. Your first instinct might be to try and swerve to miss it. However, you should never do this. Swerving can cause your vehicle to flip over or veer into oncoming traffic, according to the TDSHS. Swerving can also confuse the deer as to where to run.
If you can’t avoid the accident, you should hit the deer while maintaining control of your vehicle, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Once you hit the deer, you should avoid breaking on impact so that the deer may pass underneath your car as opposed to hitting the windshield, according to the USDA.
Use Your High Beams
After dark, use high beams when there is no opposing traffic, according to the USDAFS. High beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater driver reaction time. You can also use your lights to frighten deer away from the side of the road, according to the USDAFS. A deer may be startled by the flashing lights and dart away from the area.
Expect More Deer
Whenever you see a deer cross the road, expect more to follow, according to the USDAFS. Deer travel in groups and many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit, according to the USDAFS. If you don’t have a vehicle behind you, wait a few minutes to make sure the coast is clear before proceeding, according to the USDAFS.
What To Do When You Strike A Deer?
If you hit a deer, do not touch it because the deer may hurt you or itself, in attempting to move or get away, according to the USDAFS. If possible, you should remove your vehicle from the roadway and call the police immediately.
But sometimes it’s other cars, and not deer, that cause accidents. If you or a loved one was hurt by a negligent driver, we can help. Read more to learn what our Memphis attorneys can do for you. If you are ready to pursue a claim, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.