Collisions between deer and vehicles in the Midwest are a grim reality that threatens the safety of motorists. Drivers and passengers are at great risk when deer and automobiles collide. It can result in severe injury and even death for the driver or passenger. Over the years, the auto accident attorneys of Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley have seen how devastating these accidents can be. There are several precautions drivers can follow to better protect themselves.
Each year deer cause 1.5 million automobile accidents (National Highway Safety Administration). The end result is 200 fatalities, 10,000 injuries, and over $1 billion in vehicle damages. While most deer accidents take place in October, November and December, it’s a year round problem — especially in the Midwest.
“Most injuries and fatalities in deer accidents are caused by the driver swerving away from the deer,” explains Scott Mann, auto accident attorney.
“This causes their car to swing wildly into oncoming traffic, the road median, or veer off into a tree or ditch. A motorist needs to slow down as much as possible and keep their vehicle on a straight path even if it means hitting the deer.”
An adult male whitetail deer averages 300 pounds, and females average 125 pounds. When animals this large collide with your vehicle it can cause serious damage. Drivers need to be extra alert during dawn and dusk when deer are most active. If you are driving in areas surrounded by ponds, trees or fields, decrease your speed and watch the sides of the road.
“If you see one deer there are usually others behind. This is your cue to slow down,” Mike Wyatt says, auto accident attorney. “Use your bright lights, but don’t honk your car horn at a deer at the side of the road. This will cause the deer to run right into your vehicle. The most important safety measure is to wear your seatbelt, and pay attention to deer crossing signs.”