Deer-car accidents are a leading cause of automobile collisions in Illinois. In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, there were 25,188 deer-vehicle collisions in 2008 alone. Injuries of deer-car accidents can be short term or last a lifetime, depending on the severity of the crash. These injuries include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spine injuries and paralysis, fractures and broken bones, internal injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Most deer-auto accidents occur between October and December, during deer’s mating season, and at night when deer, which are nocturnal animals, are out looking for food. Though deer-car accidents are at a high during mating season, they can occur during any time of year. Drivers can take extra precautions to improve safety and avoid deer-car accidents.
10 Tips to Avoid Deer-Car Accidents
Drivers should be aware of the risks that deer and other animals can cause and take appropriate precautions. To reduce the risk of collisions, drivers can:
- Take extra care when driving at dusk, at early evening, and during pre-sunrise hours when deer are most active.
- Try to avoid rural or poorly lit roadways during hours with low light.
- Take note of locations where deer have been regularly sighted in the past, or areas where they may be likely to gather along your route.
- Reduce speed and be prepared to stop quickly on roads where deer may be present, especially areas near streams or rivers or in areas with heavy vegetation.
- Always wear a seat belt.
- Use high-beam headlights to light the sides of the roadway at night.
- Be aware that where there is one deer, there are often more deer. Once you have spotted a deer, be extra cautious when driving in the area.
- Make sure that deer have moved far away from the road before proceeding along the roadway, since deer may cross the roadway and turn around to cross back to the other side again.
- If a deer is spotted, drivers should flash the headlights of the vehicles or sound the horn to alert the deer of the car’s presence and encourage it to move away from the road.
- If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, hold the wheel steady and brake. Do not try to avoid hitting the deer by swerving into oncoming traffic or off the road.
What to Do If You Hit a Deer in Illinois
If you are involved in a deer-vehicle collision, you should contact your local, county, or state law enforcement and stay in your car until help arrives. Do not attempt to move a dead or injured deer from the roadway. Photographing the scene and taking witness statements can help preserve the evidence needed to make your claim.
After reporting the scene to law enforcement, you may wish to consult with an experienced Illinois auto accident attorney to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or property damage. The Chicago auto accident attorneys at Ankin Law have considerable experience representing clients who have suffered injuries or property damages in an auto accident, including collisions with animals such as deer. We will evaluate various factors that affect an animal crossing collision, such as whether there was adequate lighting on the roadway, and examine the facts of the collision in order to advise you on how to best proceed with your claim.
If you have suffered injuries or property damage as a result of an animal crossing collision, contact the Chicago auto accident attorneys at Ankin Law to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and remedies.