Avoid the deer in your headlights

Steer clear of deer

There’s a reason “like a deer caught in headlights” is a popular saying — both the deer and the driver tend to freeze in shock before a collision.

And as deer populations grow and populated areas expand, deer-vehicle collisions are increasing. During prime deer-hit season, which runs from October through December, drivers are twice as likely to hit a deer.

Preventative measures

As you travel this season, follow these tips from the Insurance Information Institute (III) to avoid injuries to both you and deer in your path:

  1. Be cautious during high-risk travel times. Deer are nocturnal, so the most dangerous times for driving in deer territory are dusk and dawn. Be extra careful around heavily wooded areas, spots where you know deer are common, and wherever you see a deer-crossing road sign.
  2. Watch for the “plus one.” If one deer is spotted, there are likely more nearby, so slow down and look for its friends.
  3. Beware unpredictable behavior. Deer do not use the same logic as people. They may stop in the middle of the road, or even cross and then double back on a road with no warning.
  4. Use high beams when possible. The deer’s eyes may reflect the vehicle’s headlights, so use high beams if there’s no oncoming traffic.
  5. Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in deer-vehicle crashes are not wearing their seat belt.
  6. Slow down and blow your horn. One long blast will help frighten the deer away, as well as alert any nearby drivers of the danger.
  7. Brake firmly but stay in your lane. If you notice a deer in or near your path, do not swerve. Instead, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and brake firmly while staying in your lane. Come to a controlled stop in a safe location. Swerving may cause you to lose control.

Oh deer!

If you hit a deer, first make sure you and your passengers are OK. Stay calm and follow these steps:

  1. Pull off the road and turn on your emergency lights. This will alert other drivers to stop or slow down. Be cautious of oncoming traffic.
  2. Don’t approach the deer. A struck deer may still be alive and could hurt you or someone else, especially with its hooves or antlers. Leave it to the DNR or police officers to handle.
  3. Call 911. Report the accident to the local authorities who can remove the deer.
  4. Document the scene. Snap a photo or video of your damaged vehicle and the accident scene. Gathering this information will help your claims adjuster process your claim faster.

Report your claim

Deer hits are some of the most common claims we get. Save yourself time learning how to manage your account and file claims below. 


Go to Manage My Account (MMA)Watch how to file a claim online using MMA

You can also report a claim by calling 877-467-2252.

Still have questions? Our claims FAQ is here for you.

Claims FAQ