Autumn signals the start of a dangerous road hazard

As Rhode Islanders brace for the slippery and cold conditions that are on the way, there is another driving hazard that you might not be aware of. While the end of the season often marks the beginning of wintery conditions, the fall also coincides with deer mating season. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there is a spike in animal collision claims during the month of November.

With the white-tailed deer being most abundant in neighboring Massachusetts, it is no wonder that animal collisions in New England hovers around 28 percent. And while the chances of hitting a deer in the Ocean State is 1 in 280, other New England drivers have better odds at avoiding this type of collision which averages around $4,000 in repairs. Nationally, these collisions are expected to cause approximately $1 billion in car damages.

Thorp & Trainer Insurance understands that accidents can be stressful enough and adding a deer collision to the mix only exacerbates the situation. In an effort to assist you, we’ve compiled a list that can help reduce your risk for deer collisions. Additionally, we outline what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

Animals are out ‘From Dusk till Dawn’

Drivers should aim to travel during the day since deer are most active at dusk and dawn. If you do not have a choice about the timing, we advise securing your seat belt and using high beams when appropriate. Since an adult male deer can weigh up to 250 pounds, a collision with this animal can cause a major jolt that can take you out of your seat. Statistics from IIHS show that 186 people died from animal related crashes in 2015, and many of those deaths could have been prevented if drivers wore seat belts.

Watch for other deer

Look out for deer crossing signs and stay alert if you see a single deer as they tend to travel in groups. Many drivers might become distracted after narrowly missing a deer, but chances are there are more coming so keep your eyes peeled.

Do not swerve to avoid a deer or any other animal

Drivers should avoid swerving their car if they see a deer or any other animal that happens to cross the roadway. Swerving the vehicle could be a deadly mistake since you could lose control of the car and drive into a ditch, or worse, other vehicles. We advise driving in the center lane and slowing down to a crawl if possible.

I hit a deer, what do I do?

If you experience a deer collision, the first thing you should do is turn on your emergency lights and call 911 to report the accident. Secondly, resist the urge to check on the well-being of the deer. Although it is likely hurt, the deer could wake up disoriented and attack you or your vehicle. Once you have called authorities and recorded the incident, you should go home and call your insurance provider to initiate your insurance claim immediately.

As an independent insurance agency for more than 100 years, Thorp & Trainer wants to make certain you are prepared in the event of an animal related accident. Please feel free to contact one of our agents at 401-596-0146 to learn about other potential hazards this season and how we can help you protect what matters most.