Fall season mean cooler weather, shorter days, and football season gets serious.  But the fall is also the time of seasonal migration of animals, particularly deer, throughout large parts of the country. Throw in the fact that’s it’s also deer hunting season and it’s no wonder that one-third (34%) of all animal collision comprehensive claims are filed during the fall.

The average cost per insurance claim for collision damage is $2,800, with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of damage. When you factor in auto claims involving bodily injury, the average rises to $10,000.

Here are some defensive driving tips to help you avoid hitting a deer, courtesy of the Insurance Information Institute:

  • Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland. Deer seldom run alone. If you see one deer, others may be nearby.
  • When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
  • If your vehicle strikes a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.

If you do hit a deer or other animal, contact your Jowers-Sklar Insurance agent to file a claim or to receive advice and assistance.  If it’s after hours, you can reach most of our companies directly via our claims page, or you get in touch through our client portal.   We’re here to help whenever you need it.