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Driving Safely During Deer Season

deer-signWe’re all familiar with bounding deer, waddling turkeys and even lumbering bears crossing our roads in northern Wisconsin. But vehicular damage, injuries and deaths caused by deer are still surprisingly high — $34 million in property damage, 800 injuries and 5 deaths were reported in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. To keep you and your family safe — especially new teen drivers — below are some tips for driving safely at this time of year.

Remember, fall is mating and hunting season for deer — this means deer are more active than they are the rest of the year. Above all, do your best to avoid sudden, uncontrolled stops, changing lanes or crossing solid lines when you see a deer.

  • Deer crossing signs are there for a reason — so pay attention to them. Signs are posted in areas with a history of animals crossing in that area.
  • Where there is one deer, there are usually more. When you see a deer immediately slow down and look for more.
  • Headlights tend to “freeze” deer in their tracks. Try flashing your brights or honking your horn to encourage the animal to move.
  • Deer’s eyes will reflect your headlights so pay attention to this sight on the side of the road.
  • Deer often abruptly change course when crossing the road, so slow down.

When you see a deer:

  • Slow down gradually and maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots to see what safe options you have.
  • Turn on emergency flashers to alert other cars.
  • Be aware of other drivers behind you and in the oncoming lane — they may not be paying attention or may react suddenly.
  • Stop or take evasive action if necessary.

If an accident does occur, your first concern is to check on the well being of yourself, your passengers and those in other vehicles. Do not approach an injured animal and do not attempt to move a dead animal. Contact the police and wait for the authorities to arrive.

Do you have questions about a claim or your personal car insurance? Contact Compass Insurance Services today.

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