The chances of your vehicle hitting a deer in Rhode Island are 1 in 409. However, during the mating season of September through December, the likelihood of a deer collision more than doubles! As of last November 2013, Law Enforcement in RI reported 1,026 deer auto strikes, with 359 taking place in September and October and deer collisions in 2014 are already up nearly 3% from last year. Yikes!
Since it is now deer mating season, it is important for all those operating a vehicle or posing as a passenger to be on the lookout for deer crossing roadways, especially during dawn and dusk. Since fall and early winter months have shorter daylight hours, people are often traveling when it is dark. We know it can be difficult enough to get up and head off to work or school when it’s dark, but try to peel your eyelids open because deer tend to be more active during these times.
The best advice to help folks try and prevent a deer collision is to slow down while driving at dawn and dusk. If possible, use your high beams. Since most injuries occur to drivers who are not wearing their seatbelts, please buckle up! Also, deer tend to travel in packs, so if you should see one dart out in front of you, beware! Chances are that another one, or even a couple more, aren’t that far behind! If a deer does dash in front of you, swerving may seem like the best idea, but it’s not! Swerving suddenly to avoid the deer can result in a more serious accident, as you can lose control and crash into oncoming traffic, a tree, a house, or other object.
What do I do if I hit a deer?
If the worst case scenario happens and you do hit a deer, be sure to follow local reporting laws. RI Law requires that all deer-vehicle collisions are reported to DEM’s 24-hour dispatch office at 222-3070, as well as to local police. You should also notify your insurance company to file a deer insurance claim.
Believe it or not, deer damage to your car has an average cost per claim of $3,888! The coverage for damage to your car caused by collision with a deer, or any other animal, is the “other than collision” or “comprehensive” section of your policy. This is an optional coverage, so you should be aware of whether or not you carry this protection. “Other than collision” coverage typically has a deductible, ranging from $250-$1000, which means that you are responsible for that amount before the insurance company will pay.
To find out more about how your insurance would apply in the event of a deer collision, or if you would like to purchase insurance to be prepared should a deer hit your car, give us a call at 401-723-8510 or visit us online.