Five driving tips to avoid hitting deer

Tuesday, October 8, 2013by  Jon Osterberg

It’s mating season for deer, putting teen drivers at higher risk.

Say what?

The logic goes like this: As reported in our recent news release about teens’ first cars, smaller, older vehicles tend to be popular among teen drivers. And they’re more dangerous because their shorter wheelbases can be less forgiving with driving mistakes, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.

Teens are two times more likely to crash a small car than their adult counterparts – like when swerving to avoid a deer, for example.

Deer are mating and migrating now through December. So not only are they on the move, they’re focused more on wooing a partner than on avoiding cars.

These tips, which can help any motorist avoid deer, are particularly helpful for less-experienced drivers in small cars.

  1. Slow down, especially around dusk and dawn while driving rural areas and mountain passes. Less speed gives you more reaction time.
  2. Avoid swerving. Doing so at high speed can make you lose control of the car. It’s often better to steer straight and brake firmly. If you do hit the deer, know that it’s typically covered under the Comprehensive section of your insurance policy.
  3. Use high beams when possible, giving you more reaction time.
  4. When you see one deer, expect more. They often travel in numbers.
  5. Don’t assume that if a deer is standing near the shoulder it won’t bolt in front of you – they often do.

 Despite our mountains and rural terrain, deer collisions are less frequent on Northwest roads than elsewhere in the country. The states with the most deer collisions, as reported recently by, are West Virginia followed by Montana, Iowa, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

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