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How to Avoid Collisions with Deer

Updated on May 14, 2016
Deer are beautiful in their natural habitat.
Deer are beautiful in their natural habitat.

Deer and Car Collision

Have you had a near car collision with a deer? Have your car ever run into a deer? Hopefully you can answer "No" to both questions. Once I had to swerve my car quickly to avoid hitting a deer. Thankfully, the deer was close to the sidewalk and disappeared quickly in the trees. If I were driving just a little slower, I believe my car would have hit the deer head-on. If you have not had a similar experience, you may want to know what to do if this happens to you.

What to do in Deer Territory

Be observant as you drive through deer territory. If you see one deer in a particular area, it is likely there are other deer around as well.

The rule of thumb is if the height of the deer in your car's path is lower than your hood, it is safer for you to, unfortunately run into it rather than trying to avoid colliding into it. Do not ever jeopardize your safety for a deer.

If the deer's height is higher than your hood, and you are heading towards it, you should stop rather than continuing on. However, when you are faced with this situation, sometimes human reflexes happen. You may be tempted to keep driving to try to get away from the deer. Refrain from doing this. If you can, stop before the collision occurs. Remember to be alert, be calm and try not to panic if you are faced with this incident.

Deer Avoidance

Due to how fast you may confront a deer, your initial reaction may be to swerve your car quickly to avoid hitting it. Hopefully, this deer sighting happens late at night when there are no other or fewer cars on the highway. The sparsely populated highway may give you enough space to maneuver your car in such a way to avoid colliding with the deer.

Deer Locations

Expect to see deer in some residential areas. Usually you may see deer signs posted to warn you that deer are near, but be on the lookout even if there are no signs.

Deer tend to come out mostly during the late night or early morning hours. In fact, some deer accidents happen at night when visibility is not clear. To avoid possibly accidentally running into a deer, drive during the daylight hours as much as you can.

If driving at night cannot be avoided, keep your headllights on high beam, and be extra attentive to your surroundings. A deer could dart in front of your car at any time.

Deer - Car Collision

What should you do if your car collides with a deer? Protect yourself first, since your safety is of utmost importance. You may be concerned about the condition of the deer, but remember that deer are wild animals and their actions can be unpredictable. You should call 911 or the police right away to report the accident. Of course, your insurance company may also become involved.

Under no circumstances should you try to remove the deer carcass from the highway if you happen to run into it, and if you are not injured. The deer could still be alive and may use its powerful hoofs to harm you. If it senses that it is in danger, the deer will try to defend itself, either by kicking or some other way, which could result in injuries to yourself.

Deer in Your Headlights

What to do if a deer stares in your car's headlights and doesn't move? Lower your high beam headlights, if you have them on high. Honk your horn and flash your lights, which should cause the deer to skirt out of your car's path.

In areas where deer frequent, you may also want to keep your headlights on high beam so they can see you. Obviously, do not keep your headllights on high beam if there are other cars approaching. As soon as the approaching cars pass, turn your high beams back on until you are out of areas frequented by deer.

Deer and Man Live Together

Even though man is invading deer's natural habitats, hopefully man and deer can live together safely and harmoniously. Follow the information above relative to deer/car safety and I'm sure you can do your part to help deer and man live together peacefully.


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    • ladyhowto4u profile image

      Courtlney Davis 5 years ago


      You are welcome and I appreciate your comments. Hopefully my hub will assist everyone on what to do should deer be in their headlights. I remain ever alert when I travel down roads where deer may frequent, especially if there are lots of trees around. However, as shown in my hub, deer may be in some of the most unsuspecting areas as well! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my hub.


    • contentwriter007 profile image

      May Monsanto 5 years ago

      You guys just gave me an idea of how it feels like to have dears coming in your front view while driving fast. Although I know I can press the brakes immediately (I hope) but this hub has given me other alternatives that can really help. :)) Thanks to this post!

    • ladyhowto4u profile image

      Courtlney Davis 6 years ago


      Thanks for sharing your interesting deer stories. I was startled at seeing just one deer. I cannot imagine how I would have reacted if I had seen such a large number of deer -- especially with the possibility of one or more of them darting out in front of my car! Thanks again and I appreciate you voting my hub up and useful!


    • profile image

      Husky1970 6 years ago

      So ladyhowto4u, you can officially join the ranks of those who have had close encounters with a deer while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Deer certainly do seem to come out of nowhere and often when you least expect it.

      A friend of mine was quite startled this spring when a deer's head smashed her driver's side window while she was just starting to drive down the road away from her house. She did manage to capture the likeness of its head with her phone camera before it ran off. The photo started a fairly interesting conversation on Facebook.

      My own personal worst was 4 years ago when I had the bright idea of leaving Hilton Head Island at 2:00 a.m. to make the trip back north at the beginning of March. On Route 95 in SC, we observed small groups of 3-5 deer grazing on the side of the highway for about 70 miles. We counted over 100 by the time we were done. Now that is a scary feeling when you are cruising along at 65-70 mph. Needless to say, we never strated our northerly migration in the dark again after that.

      As a result of being able to relate to your experience, this hub up and very useful.