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Deer and rural driving: What to know

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Car Accidents |

If you’re a driver in Pennsylvania, your chances of hitting a deer on the road is roughly one in 52. That’s about double the national average.

From October through December, deer are on the move due to mating season and they start appearing more frequently around rural roads, especially at night. That makes it absolutely critical to understand what you can do to minimize the odds of a wreck. Here are the things you need to keep in mind:

Deer travel in packs, and are particularly active during certain times

The hour just after sunset and the hour just around sunrise are the two most common times for accidents with deer. That’s partially because of when the deer are active – and partially because humans are on the road more around those times due to their daily commutes.

You should also keep in mind that deer usually travel in herds. If you see a deer ahead of you in the road and it bounds off into the woods, slow down or stop the car until you see whether there are other deer behind it.

You increase the odds of another kind of wreck if you make certain mistakes

Drivers need to avoid a couple of major mistakes when they do encounter deer on the road. First, don’t rely on your high beams to scare off a deer that you see in the road. Flashing your brights may or may not drive off the deer – but it almost certainly will blind any oncoming drivers. That could cause them to momentarily lose their focus, cross the yellow line and drive right into you.

Second, you absolutely should not swerve to avoid hitting a deer. If you see a deer in your path and it’s too late to stop, try to slow your vehicle as much as possible to lessen the impact. Otherwise, you may end up crossing the center line and drive straight into someone else.

If you are hurt in a wreck by a driver who reacted the wrong way during an encounter with a deer, find out more about your legal options to recover your losses and fair compensation for your injuries.