Don't Let Increased Deer Activity Spoil Your Summer Fun
Madison, WI—Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel is urging caution as increased summer traffic volume combined with increased deer activity make for a deadly and expensive combination.
"The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) put out some sobering statistics last month about the number of crashes and injuries that can happen when people get out and about with their summer activities," said Nickel. "By watching carefully for deer and other road hazards, you can ensure that you have a fun and safe summer."
According to information released by the DOT in May, June is one of the worst months for driver injury due to collisions with deer.
Deer hits also cause considerable financial damage. The National Transportation Safety Administration estimates that car/deer collisions cost approximately $1 billion per year. Nickel urges consumers to make sure their auto insurance policies are covered for deer hits.
Deer hits and other auto-animal collisions are covered under the comprehensive coverage of an auto policy, sometimes referred to as "other than collision." This optional coverage is typically found in the section of the policy contract entitled "Coverage for Damage to Your Auto" or "Physical Damage Coverage." Comprehensive coverage provides financial protection beyond that of collision coverage, including hail, theft, falling objects, and deer hits. Drivers should call their insurance company or agent and check their policies to see if they have comprehensive auto coverage.
Nickel encourages Wisconsin's drivers to be aware of the increase in the likelihood of car/deer collisions and take the proper precautions. Drivers are encouraged to heed the following suggestions:
- Be attentive in the early morning and evening hours; this is the most active time for deer.
- Pay close attention to deer crossing signs; they are installed in places where there are typically more deer crossings.
- Wear your safety-belt, stay sober, keep your headlights correctly adjusted, and use your high beams where possible.
- If you see a deer near the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn; some suggest also flashing your headlights to scare the deer away.
- If you see a deer in front of you, brake firmly, don't swerve, stay in your lane and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop. It is better to hit the deer than to swerve and lose control of your vehicle and risk rolling over or hitting a tree or oncoming traffic.
- If you hit a deer, do not leave your vehicle. The injured deer could hurt you. Try to get your car off the road and call the police.
OCI publications such as
Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance can be ordered free from the agency by writing to OCI Publications, P.O. Box 7873, Madison, WI 53707-7873, calling 800-236-8517 or visiting the OCI Web site at oci.wi.gov. The publication is available in English or Spanish.
Created by the Legislature in 1871, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure that the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.