Accidents happen, especially with unpredictable factors like animals. No matter how careful of a driver you are, deer can still jump into your path unexpectedly. If you hit a deer, here are 5 steps to take to keep you safe and get you back on the road with your vehicle.
5 Steps to Take if You Hit a Deer
Get to Safety
First, you’ll want to pull over to the side of the road, if possible, to keep you safe from traffic. Other cars will present more danger to you and your passengers, so getting to safety should be your top priority. If you can get to safety on the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights and put out emergency triangle reflectors if you have them–these are a cheap and helpful tool to keep in your car in case of emergencies like this. If you’re unable to move your vehicle, do your best to ensure that you and your passengers are safe and out of the way of dangerous traffic before moving onto the next step.
Steer Clear of the Deer
When any animal is injured and scared, they pose a risk to you. Even while wounded, it could still be strong enough to injure you. Although it might not seem like it, deer can be powerful, and their hooves can be quite sharp. You don’t want to invade their space and end up hurting yourself.
Contact Emergency Services
Call 911 as soon as you can for your safety as well as other drivers’. Although this is a nerve wracking situation, try to stay calm and explain what happened as best you can. If you or any of your passengers are injured, be sure to let them know if you need an ambulance. Rest assured, the 911 operators know what to do and will send you the help you need.
Inspect and Document the Damage
If the collision results in any damage to your vehicle or injuries to you or your passengers, make sure to keep a detailed record–this will help you in filing a claim. Law enforcement will also file an official traffic report, so keeping detailed notes ensures that both records line up. If you can, take as many pictures and videos as possible of everything in the area; the road, damage to your vehicle, and injuries. Before you get back in the car, make sure that it is safe to drive. It’s important to check on shattered windshields or headlights, bent mirrors, fluid leakage, unusual engine sounds, tire damage, any broken hood latches or door handles, and any loose parts. Regardless of the size of the animal, you can’t assume that your vehicle will be capable of driving away safely after a collision.
As soon as you can, you’ll want to share all of the documentation of the collision with your insurance agent. This means not only the documentation you recorded (notes, photos, videos), but also the official law enforcement report. If the collision resulted in damage to your vehicle or injury to any passenger, getting in contact with your insurance right away is important so the claim can be processed, and you can receive your compensation for repairs.