Wildlife and Winter Driving
With leaves falling and cold temperatures filling the air, it’s time to pay extra attention to the road and to potential animal hazards including deer. A deer popping out from the side of the road is a scary proposition at any time of year and especially hazardous when road conditions are slick with fresh rain or icy because of cold temperatures. Peak accident times include both the early and late hours of the day.
In truth it is important to keep a continuous lookout for all kinds of wildlife near or on the highway. And be sure to understand what kind of animal-related insurance claims are covered in your insurance policy.
Insurance coverage from damages associated with accidents involving deer or other animals may be optional depending on your insurance and carrier. Knowing this is important. If you presently lack protection, find out what it would cost to add the optional coverage. It’s typically a small investment that can save you should you suffer a collision with a deer, elk, or other animal.
At the very same time, be sure to practice good safe driving protocols. Indeed many safe-driving advocates say to brake but never swerve to avoid the animal. (You may swerve into oncoming traffic or lose traction on the road.) Exercise caution while driving through wooded areas. Slow down and be prepared to stop if the deer go into the road if you spot deer or other wildlife. If a deer is struck, call the police and your insurance agent as quickly as safe to do so. Take images of the crash site, automobile damage and any damage to the car. Be sure to include images of the animal as further proof of the cause of the accident. And in the event a claim is submitted, be sure to have your care thoroughly evaluated mechanically.
The late fall and winter months bring an increase in driving activity on roads that may already present challenges. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1.5 million accidents with deer are documented each year. More than 200 of these resulted in fatalities and cost an estimated $1 billion in damages each year… so take care. Be sure you’re protected. Practice safe driving.
And if this causes you some concern, we’re here to help. Be sure to reach out to us if you have questions about your auto insurance.