“Watch out for deer!” If you live in rural Ohio, you’ve undoubtedly heard that the risk for hitting a deer on the roadways increases dramatically in late fall and early winter. The Ohio Department of Insurance lists November as the leading month for deer-vehicle collisions in the state.
These crashes are costly for drivers, with a national cost per claim average of close to $5,000. If a deer-vehicle collision occurs, here’s what to do:
1. Move your vehicle to a safe place
If possible, pull over to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, and stay in your vehicle. Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, times when you and your vehicle are less visible to other drivers. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and away from traffic.
2. Do not approach the animal
A wounded or startled deer could use its powerful legs or antlers to harm you. Deer are peaceful creatures, but they can be aggressive and dangerous if injured or frightened.
3. Call the police
Alert authorities immediately, especially if the animal or your vehicle are blocking traffic and creating a threat to other drivers. Contact the nearest sheriff or highway patrol post and they will dispatch an officer to your location.
- If you or any passengers are injured, request medical assistance
- You will most likely need to fill out an accident report
- They will clear the roadway and dispose of the animal
4. Assess damage to your vehicle
Once authorities have secured the scene and it is safe to do so, check your vehicle to make sure it is safe to drive. Look for leaking fluid, tire damage, broken lights, loose parts, a hood that won’t latch and other hazards. Call for a tow if your vehicle seems unsafe in any way.
5. Document the incident
If possible, take photos of the roadway and surrounding area. Also photograph damage to your vehicle and any injuries you or your passengers may have. If there were witnesses, take down their account of what occurred and ask for their contact information. Along with the official accident report, all of this will be helpful when filing your claim.