Consumer Reports: How to avoid hitting a deer

Anyone who drives in a suburban or rural area knows that fall not only brings colorful leaves, but also an increased risk for hitting a deer. Deer strikes can be dangerous and costly.

The average insurance claim is $2,730 so Consumer Reports has advice on how to avoid a collision in the first place.

"The second I crossed his path he jumped right in front of my car," explained Gisela Aydin.
Aydin wasn't hurt, but the deer might have been and we know the front of her brand new car was badly damaged.

"It was devastating to be honest. Thirty minutes into owning it, gone," she said.

With fewer hours of daylight in the fall, it's harder for drivers to see deer, which is one reason why insurance claims for deer strikes sharply increase this time of year.

"First, slow down, especially around dawn and dusk, when deer are most active. And use your high beams as often as you can to make sure you're seeing further down the road," said Jennifer Stockburger, Consumer Reports auto expert.

And since deer tend to travel in groups, if you see one run across the road, expect others to follow.

"If a deer runs out in front of you, you do not want to swerve. That can put you at risk for hitting another vehicle or losing control of your car," said Stockburger.
Instead, slow down as quickly and safely as you can. In most cases, you're more likely to survive a deer strike than a collision with another vehicle.

"Sadly, if you do hit a deer, pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road and call the police and animal control. Get out of the car, but don't ever approach the animal, but take pictures of the scene for your insurance company," said Stockburger.

While some drivers use aftermarket devices on their front bumpers called "deer whistles," it's important to remember that animal behavior is unpredictable and you should always be prepared and practice cautious driving habits.

Insurance Information Institute: Facts and Statistics of Deer Collisions

Insurance Information Institute: Losses due to animal strikes
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