November’s rain and falling temperatures aren’t the only driving perils drivers should be prepared for this month –November also marks the peak month for deer collisions. With deer mating season and hunting season in full swing this month, deer are out and about on America’s roadways and could put you at risk for an accident.

Nationally, the odds of a driver hitting deer, moose or elk are 1 in 169, according to a study conducted by State Farm. For our customers in Pennsylvania that risk is even higher, with the odds increasing to 1 in 70! Hitting one of these animals can cause serious damages to your car and cause injury and death, not just to the animal, but to the driver and passengers of the vehicle as well.

Stay safe this deer collision season, which lasts through December, by taking measures to be prepared if these critters cross your path and by practicing defensive driving. While safety is a primary concern, hitting a deer is not cheap. State Farm found that the national average cost per claim was $4,135.

Stay safe and prepared out there on the roads with these tips for driving during deer collision season:

  • The hours from dusk through dawn present the highest risk of deer collisions. Avoid drowsy driving, always use your headlights and high beams when applicable and pay extra attention to the road during these times.
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs and use extra caution when driving through those zones during the fall season.
  • Wear your seatbelt!
  • Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one, it is likely there are others nearby.
  • Call your insurance agent and ensure you have adequate comprehensive coverage. This is the part of your auto insurance that will kick in if you incur damage from hitting a deer.  Often this coverage is optional, so make sure you have enough.

If you encounter a deer:

  • Slow down.
  • Brake firmly if a deer is in your path, but avoid swerving, which could lead to losing control of the vehicle or turning into the other lane and oncoming traffic.
  • Use your horn to frighten the deer away. The Insurance Information Institute recommends using one long blast from your horn.

If you hit a deer, keep these important tips in mind:

  • If possible, move your car to a safe spot. Since most deer accidents occur at nighttime, use your hazards and other methods to make yourself visible to other drivers on dark roads.
  • DO NOT go near or touch the deer. Though it may be hurt, deer are still wild animals and a wounded deer is likely to be panicked and could injure you.
  • Call the police if the deer is blocking the roadway or could be a hazard to other drivers and to report any damage to your vehicle or injuries, which will come in handy when filing a claim.
  • If possible to do so safely, take pictures of the damage and deer as soon as possible. This documentation will help in the claims process. If there are witnesses, be sure to collect their information as well.