What to do when you hit a deer with your car

A deer crossing the road
October 10, 2022

Hitting a deer with your car can be an unsettling experience and leave you wondering what to do next. To help keep yourself and other drivers safe, it’s important to stay calm, get off the road, and follow the tips in this guide.

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—and turn on your hazard lights. It’s crucial to make sure you’re visible to protect yourself, your vehicle, and other drivers.

Should you call the police when you hit a deer?

Yes. Once you’re off to the side of the road, call the police. They can walk you through your next steps in real-time. They’ll typically come to the scene and 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. The scene is likely upsetting to look at, but this step is important.

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 could 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, give us a call at 800-334-0090 and one of our knowledgeable representatives can walk you through the process.

How to avoid hitting a deer

There’s no sure-fire way to completely avoid hitting a deer with your car, but there are some actions you can take to make it less likely:

  • Use caution: Be alert and slow down when deer are more likely to be present—from dusk until midnight and during the hours before dawn and after dawn.

  • Watch the sides of the road: Keeping your eyes on the road is a no-brainer, but it’s also a good idea to scan both sides of the road. You may be able to spot a deer before it crosses so you can slow down ahead of time.

  • Use your high beams: When it’s dark out and there’s no oncoming traffic, be sure to use your high beam headlights. They reach farther into the distance so you can see deer sooner.

Related links

Comprehensive car insurance helps cover repairs to your car resulting from hitting a deer, so it’s key if you live in an area where deer frequently cross the roads. Check out some of the other coverages we offer.

Need a rental while your car is being repaired? Find out if your auto insurance covers your rental car.

The general information in this blog is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our blog disclaimer.

*Data accuracy is subject to this article's publication date.

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