How to Safely Navigate the Dangers of Deer Season
It is early autumn, and the sun is just starting to set. You’re driving home from work, maybe listening to the latest episode of your favorite podcast or your favorite Spotify playlist, and then suddenly – oh, “deer”! Before you can even process what’s happening, a deer has leaped across the front of your vehicle. Deer season is quickly approaching, so we’ve collected some statistics on Alabama’s deer season, deer collision prevention strategies, and guidelines on what to do if you hit a deer (or other wild animals).
Deer Season in Alabama
In Alabama, deer season starts on October 15 and lasts all the way until February 10. This coincides with the days getting shorter and darker, making it harder for a driver to spot a deer with time to spare. According to a study conducted by State Farm Insurance, Alabamian drivers have a 1 in 90 chance of hitting an animal during this period, rendering the risk of hitting a deer here the 21st highest in the U.S (the U.S average risk for hitting a deer is 1 in 116).
Deer are not the only species that Alabama drivers need to worry about, though. In Alabama’s 2019-2020 hunting season, it was estimated that 218,000 deer were harvested, and 255,000 feral hogs were harvested. Like deer, these wild boars are extremely mobile and repopulate a ton during hunting season, so it is not unusual to spot them crossing roads. Be aware that most wild boars are black and shorter than deer, so they may be a bit trickier to spot.
So, what should you do if you hit a deer?
- The most essential thing to do when you’ve hit a deer is to make sure you are safe. If your vehicle is still drive-able, get it off the road as to not block oncoming vehicles. If it is too damaged to move, make sure your person is off the road and your hazard lights are on. You may feel compelled to help the deer if it is still alive and suffering, but do NOT get near the deer – if it is still alive, it will be very frightening and could attempt to kick you or shove its hooves in you in an attempt to defend itself.
- Call the police. In the state of Alabama, if a driver hits a dog, deer, goat, or pig, they are legally required to call the police. The police can also make an official report of the property damage.
- If it is safe to do so, document the scene. Take pictures of both the animal and damage to your vehicle and take note of the time the incident occurred.
- Contact your insurance to make a claim. If you have comprehensive coverage, collision with an animal should be covered.
Is there anything I can do to prevent hitting a deer?
- Be aware of your surroundings. Deer crossing signs are posted where deer activity is high, so be sure to be extra observant of your surroundings where these signs are posted. Also, if you spot even just one single deer in the surroundings of the road, take note. Deer travel in packs, so there are likely more where that one came from.
- Honk your horn. If you happen to see deer on the side of the road, honk to spook them off and make your presence known.
- Do not swerve. Swerving could cause you to collide with another driver or land you in a ditch, and you could still end up hitting the deer because they travel fast and erratically. The best thing to do when a deer approaches is to stay in your lane and calmly brake; it may be inevitable that you hit the deer.
- Make sure your headlights are on and in good shape. Deer eyes glow in headlights, making them easier to see.
Hyundai makes it as easy as possible for you to be aware of your surroundings as a driver. Deer often come from the middle of nowhere and at night, so Hyundai’s Driver Attention Warning system, or DAW, analyses your driving behavior to warn you if your driving is feeling a bit sleepy – sleepy drivers are more likely to hit deer due to slowed reflexes.
Hyundai also has a Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist or FCA, that can sense the presence of potential road hazards and reduces speed upon their occurrence. This coincides wonderfully with Hyundai’s brake assistant system, or BAS, which increases the braking pressure upon detecting the driver attempting an emergency stop (very handy in animal situations!).
Many new Hyundai models also come with adaptive headlights and auto-on headlights. Adaptive headlights allow the headlights to turn with the direction of the wheel, elevating road lighting.
Interested in these safety features? Stop by Jim Burke Hyundai at 1424 5th Avenue North in Birmingham or give us a call at (205) 502-2792 today. Be sure to check out the new Hyundai Elantras at Jim Burke Nissan, which was deemed a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Trust Jim Burke Hyundai with all your Repair Needs
Did you recently have the misfortune of being involved in a deer collision? Jim Burke Automotive has an exceptional body shop (located in Jim Burke Downtown Auto Mall) staffed with talented technicians who take pride in ensuring your vehicle gets back to you in tip top shape. Get a tow to our Birmingham body shop today!