Now is the time of year when deer are on the run throughout the country. A recent article published in the Republican Herald points out this is because deer mate from October through December, bringing the animals boldly out of the woods and onto more roadways. Consequently, most deer-related vehicle crashes occur during this time, especially in November.

According to information collected by StateFarm insurance company, Pennsylvania ranks third highest in the country on the list of deer-related crashes by state. In 2015, the odds of being involved in a deer-related crash on Pennsylvania roadways were 1 in 70. This year, the odds are 1 in 67. Although these numbers include crashes involving other large animals such as moose and elk, accidents are predominantly caused by contact with, or swerving away from, deer.

How To React If You Hit A Large Animal

  • Pull over. Turn your hazard lights are on, especially if you are unable to move your vehicle to the side of the road.
  • Call it in. Let police know there is a deer in the road, regardless of what condition it is in. Either police or the PA Game Commission can put the animal down if necessary. If there has been personal injury or property damage, complete an accident report. If you or someone else is severely injured, call an ambulance.
  • Gather evidence. Take photos of everything related to the accident — including the animal. Take your own notes so you have an accurate description of what happened; you may not remember everything later. If there are witnesses, talk to them and obtain their contact information.
  • Leave the animal alone. It can be dangerous for you to approach a deer, elk or moose. Attempting to move an injured animal may cause it to go into shock or have a heart attack. Let authorities handle the animal regardless of how badly it is wounded.
  • Contact your insurance agency. You should also consider contacting a qualified attorney if there have been severe injuries or major property damage for which you could become liable.
  • Drive safely. Your vehicle may be unsafe to drive even if it initially appears to be. Only drive it if you’re sure it’s safe to operate and your injuries allow you to drive.

If you actually hit an animal, your comprehensive insurance may cover vehicle repairs and is considered a “non-chargeable” offense. If you hit a tree or anything else because you swerved to avoid the deer, collision insurance may cover necessary repairs to your vehicle but will count against you as a chargeable claim. Talk to a personal injury lawyer for further information. If you see an injured or expired animal blocking a roadway, call 1-800-FIX-ROAD.