Hastings offers its residents a treasure trove of outdoor activities and is undoubtedly a hunter’s paradise with a variety of wildlife, including deer. All that nature is sure to delight the outdoor enthusiast in all of us, but it’s also likely to be a place where deer are encountered on the road. There were 624 deer-vehicle collisions reported in Barry County alone last year, with an incredible 42% of incidents taking place during the months of October, November and December. While it may not always be possible to avoid hitting a deer completely, these tips can help reduce the odds.
Tips For Avoiding Deer
- Slow Down: It may sound too simple to be effective, but slowing your speed in dense deer populations is one of the most important methods for avoiding them. Driving conservatively not only allows you more time to stop your vehicle if necessary but can reduce the amount of damage done to your vehicle should you collide.
- Look for glowing eyes on the side of the road: Deer eyes reflect in light and spotting them early on the side of the road can give you the extra time it takes to react properly.
- Use high beams to increase visibility: Having better visibility offers you more time to slow down and in turn, avoid hitting a deer. Use your brights to see further down the road when it doesn’t interfere with other driver’s ability to see.
- Look for more deer if you see one: Deer are pack animals and rarely travel alone. Be alert even if a deer ahead has crossed safely to the other side. Chances are, there are more to follow.
- Dawn & dusk are high risk times: Most deer accidents take place between 5 pm-midnight & 5 am-8 am. Use particular caution while driving at these times, scanning the side of the road often.
- Give yourself space: Tailgating has been determined as a contributing factor in over 1/3 of all accidents. While it may not help you avoid hitting a deer directly, adding a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you, allows you time to react should they need to brake for one.
- Seat belt: Most serious injuries in deer accidents occur when a seat belt was not used. Make sure to buckle up.
- Flash Lights & Blow Horn: Deer can become transfixed on steady lights approaching. If you come across one in the road, slow down, flash your lights at them and try honking your horn to scare them away.
- Be aware of high risk deer areas: It’s possible to find deer in urban areas but they’re found most in rural surroundings. Be alert on countryside roads and especially where Deer Crossing warning signs have been placed.
- Drive in center lane when available: The center lane of the highway gives more room between a deer on the side of the road and your moving vehicle. That room could make all the difference between an accident and driving on safely.
- Brake firmly but do not swerve: Swerving to avoid a deer could cause a head-on collision with another car or cause your vehicle to leave the road. Instead brake firmly to avoid or lessen impact.
What To Do If You Hit A Deer
- Pull to the side of the road.
- Turn on hazards.
- Do not approach the deer.
- Call police if there are injuries, damage to your vehicle or if the animal is a danger to other motorists on the road.
- Contact insurance company as soon as possible to report damage and schedule repairs.
- Take pictures if possible for making a claim.
When contacting your insurance company, you may find they have a list of recommended body shops. These are body shops they have contracted a lower price for service with but that savings is not necessarily passed onto its customers. You are not required to use any of their suggested repair shops. The most important thing is that you feel confident in the body shop and you have the final decision on where you have your vehicle repaired. This also applies for the Car Rental you may need while your car is getting repaired. Regardless of their recommendations, you are entitled to choose your own car rental company. Broadmoor Motors works closely with quite a few Body Shops in the Hastings and Barry County area including: Dewey’s Auto Body, Deming Auto Collision Services Inc., Precision Auto Body, Priority Collision, Woodland Auto Body, Hummell Body Shop, M-43 Auto Body and Hastings Body Shop. We are your locally owned & operated, family managed Car Rental and Car Sales option in the Hastings and Barry County area. We’re here for all your Car Rental and Car Sales needs.