Every year, there are thousands of deer-auto accidents. In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, in 2008, there were 25,188 deer-vehicle collisions in Illinois alone. Most deer-auto accidents occur from October through December, during deer’s mating season, and at night when deer, which are nocturnal animals, are out looking for food.
New Technology Seeks to Avoid Deer-Auto Accidents
While “deer crossing” signs can help to put drivers on notice of heavily populated deer areas, drivers do not always see these signs, nor do they always allow a driver to stop in time to avoid an accident. New technologies are being developed, however, that seek to help vehicles detect animals in the roadway and notify drivers before a collision occurs. For instance, Autoliv Electronics Night Vision is currently developing infrared technology consisting of a video display in the dashboard that pinpoints and highlights heat-emitting animals, such as deer, up to 160 yards ahead. Since drivers typically can’t see beyond 40 yards, this new technology gives drivers two to four seconds of additional reaction time to avoid a deer-auto collision.
Due to existing Department of Transportation laws governing lights on the roadways, the Autoliv technology isn’t sold in the U.S. yet, but it is gaining popularity overseas and Autoliv representatives recently traveled to Washington D.C.to discuss possible updates to the regulations in order to allow the technology to be sold in the U.S.
10 Tips to Avoid Deer-Auto Collisions
Drivers should be aware of the risks that deer and other animals can cause and take appropriate precautions, including:
- Take extra care when driving at dusk and early evening and during pre-sunrise hours when deer are most active.
- Try to avoid rural or poorly lit roadways.
- Take note of locations where deer have been sighted in the past.
- 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 your seat belt.
- Use high-beam headlights to light the sides of the roadway.
- 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, flash your headlights or sound the horn to alert the deer of your 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 Have Deer-Vehicle Collision
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.
You may wish to consult with an experienced Illinois auto accident attorney to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and/or property damage. The Chicago auto accident attorneys at Ankin Law Offices have considerable experience representing clients who have suffered injuries or property damages in an auto accident, including collisions with animals such as deer.