McQuistion: It’s Fall – Oh Deer

Jemez Agency
Serving Los Alamos since 1963

The temperatures have gotten cooler, and the trees are getting vibrant with color. It is a beautiful time of year.

Fall also means animal-related car accidents are likely to rise. Between October and December, the annual deer breeding season (known as the rut) occurs. Deer can be very active and unpredictable during this time, and many find their way to our roadways.

Five recommended safety tips:

1. Be alert

  • More deer are on the road around dusk and dawn.
  • Deer crossing signs are posted where deer are likely to cross.
  • Large deer populations are near wooded areas.
  • Deer are herd animals – if you see one, it is likely there are more!
  • Deer don’t only live in rural areas.

2. Use high beam headlights when safe to do so, to increase your visibility.

3. Reduce speed in areas where deer are suspected.

4. Wear your seatbelt or motorcycle helmet.

  • The size of an adult male deer can be 200-plus pounds, and a collision with one can pack a powerful punch.

5. Don’t swerve

  • Swerving can cause you to lose control and hit an object, another vehicle, or even be involved in a rollover accident.
  • Swerving to miss one deer can steer you into the path of another.

If you hit a deer:

  • Pull over and call local law enforcement.
  • Ask for medical assistance if you or your passengers are injured.
  • Stay away from the animal! It could still be alive and panic.
  • Report the accident to your insurance as soon as possible. Make sure you take pictures of the damage to your car before washing. The amount you pay (called your deductible) could be lower if the impact is confirmed to have resulted from an animal collision, rather than hitting another car (depending on your coverage selections).

With most insurance policies, the coverage that applies to damage caused by hitting a deer is comprehensive or other than collision coverage. Check with your insurance professional to make sure you have this coverage on your vehicles.

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