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What to do when you hit a deer with your car

Added November 30, 2020
Two deer crossing a road

As a driver, you learn to expect the unexpected from other drivers and changing road conditions. On that note, there’s always a possibility that a deer or other large animal could cross the road in front of your car. When driving in the fall or winter, you need to be particularly alert, as deer are more active during these times. So, what do you do if the unfortunate happens and you hit a deer with your car?

Pull over to the side of the road

The first thing you need to do is move to the side of the road—if you and your vehicle are able to safely—and turn on your hazard lights. It’s crucial to make sure you’re visible to protect yourself and your vehicle from other drivers.

Call the police

Once you’re off to the side of the road, call the police. They can walk you through your next steps. They’ll typically come to the scene and can help you secure a tow truck or alternate transportation if your car is too damaged to drive. Additionally, they’ll take your statement and document your account of how the accident occurred. This is something your insurance company will need when you file a claim for the accident.

Take photos of the accident

If possible, take photos of your vehicle immediately after the accident. Try to take photos of the surrounding area as well, including anything you think may be helpful in processing your claim.

Don’t approach the deer

If the deer didn’t run off after being hit, you may be tempted to check on it. But animals are unpredictable—especially when they’re injured or feel threatened. Deer can be powerful, and they typically scare easily, so if you get near one after hitting it with your car, it may move abruptly and injure you in the process.

Check with witnesses

If there were any other drivers on the road at the time of your accident and they’ve pulled off the road, write down their names and phone numbers and ask them for their account of what happened. Your insurance agent may want to contact them and verify their account of the accident while processing the claim.

File a claim with your insurance agent

Once you’re safe, it’s important to contact your insurance agent as quickly as possible. The sooner you call, the quicker your agent will be able to start working on your claim. If you’re not sure how to submit a claim, don’t worry! Contact your Dairyland® insurance agent and they’ll walk you through the process.

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