Deer crossing sign

Avoid Deer-Vehicle Collisions With These 8 Tips!

November is just about here, and that means that winter will be upon us soon enough! We will be experiencing colder weather, shorter amounts of daylight, and maybe even some snow!

While preparing to drive in the winter weather is one task you really need to do, be aware that the behavior in our native wildlife will be changing along with the season. During this time of year, deer will become even more prominent along the sides of the road, and you should keep an eye out for them even more.

The month of November is the time of the year in which you are the most likely to be involved in a deer-vehicle collision. More than 18% of all deer-vehicle collisions take place in November; in fact, you are three times more likely to hit a deer in November than you are on any given day between February 1 and August 31. Besides November, October is the second most dangerous month for motorists and deer, and December ranks as third most dangerous.

While you don’t have to start worrying about deer leaping out in front of you (unless you live in West Virginia – the state that you’re the most likely to hit a deer in), you will want to take some precautions this fall. Both Illinois and Missouri are moderate-risk states with Missouri having higher odds than Illinois.

With these statistics and facts in mind, please remember the following 8 tips when you’re out on the road this fall:

Slow Down – Take it slow out there! There’s no need to speed, even if you happen to be late for work. Obey the posted speed limits – they’re there for a reason, after all! Be sure to also drive defensively, especially at night when the wildlife comes to life along the roadways.

Watch the Sides of the Road – This doesn’t mean that you should only watch the sides of the road, but you should be more alert to any movements on the sides. The times to be on highest alert are at dusk and dawn. Deer are especially active between 6 and 9 p.m.

Keep Your Distance – Refrain from tailgating when you’re on the road! Keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you so you can avoid an unnecessary accident.

Rely on Your Eyes – As much as we’d like to believe it to be true, we’re pretty positive that those car-mounted deer whistles won’t really do much of anything to deter any deer. Instead, rely on your perfectly good eyes and the road signs around you to keep you and your car safe.

Be Bright – Those high-beam headlamps are on your car for a reason, so go ahead and use them! You will be able to see objects and animals on or near the road more clearly when you do. Just be sure to be courteous to other drivers on the road when they are traveling on the opposite side of the road. Turn your high-beams off when they are within 500 feet of your vehicle.

Beware of Other Deer – If you encounter a deer on your drive, do remember that deer like to travel in herds. More than likely, there will be at least one more deer along with the one you spotted on or near the road. Slow down and make sure that the road is clear before proceeding.

Stay in Control – If you see a deer out of nowhere on the road and feel that an accident is inevitable, swerving out of the way could make things worse. It could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and potentially place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle, which is much worse than colliding with an animal. If you can’t avoid the accident, do all that you can to lessen the impact and stay in control of your vehicle.

Stay Confident in Yourself – Driving in any kind of situation is more difficult when you’re not feeling sure of yourself. Remember, just because the odds of encountering a deer on the road are higher this time of year doesn’t mean that you’re destined to get in an accident. Don’t be afraid behind the wheel – get out there, buckle up, and stay confident in your driving skills, no matter the outcome!

We hope that these tips will help better prepare you for the upcoming months! If you have any further questions or need any assistance when it comes to auto insurance, we’re the right people to talk to! Just call Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com!