A new report released by State Farm Insurance has found that both North Carolina and South Carolina are “high risk” states for deer accidents. South Carolina ranks 12th in the country, with 1 in 93 drivers filing a deer damage claim each year. North Carolina is close behind, with one annual deer damage claim for every 112 drivers.
These can be expensive accidents. The average deer damage claim in 2016 totaled nearly $4,000. They can also cause serious injuries and even death.
It is especially important that area motorists are on the lookout for deer during the fall driving season. Deer are most active and aggressive during the months of November and December. If you are driving this fall in rural areas of Upstate South Carolina or Western North Carolina, please keep your eyes open for deer.
Three Tips to Help You Avoid Deer Collisions
Watch for the Deer Crossing Signs
Those deer crossing signs are important. They are put up in areas where deer activity is known to be especially common. While deer accidents can certainly occur outside of those marked zones, you should remain especially vigilant when driving through a deer crossing area.
Be Careful at Dawn and Dusk
Most deer accidents occur around sunrise or sunset. This is because these are the times of the day when deer move around. Of course, depending on the angle of the sun, visibility can be drastically reduced during this time. So, if you are driving on a rural road or in a wooded area during dawn or dusk, keep a lookout for deer.
Do Not Swerve
Finally, in the unfortunate event that you do come across a deer standing in the middle of the road, do not swerve to avoid it. Instead, try to do what you can to bring your vehicle to a stop as quickly as possible. This may seem counterintuitive to you, as it is natural to try to avoid a deer. However, in many cases, swerving to avoid a deer may lead to a far more serious accident. It is much better to hit a deer than an oncoming car or a large tree.
What to Do After You Hit a Deer
Pull Over and Call the Police
After an accident, you need to get your vehicle to the shoulder of the road and out of traffic if possible. You should also call the local police and have them come and take care of the deer. While there, the officer can write an official accident report.
Document Your Accident
You should always document any car accident. This includes single-car accidents such as deer collisions. Try to take photographs of the accident scene and of the damage to your vehicle. Also, get your hands on the police report and try to get the contact information of any witnesses.
Notify Your Insurance Company
You must notify your insurance company as soon as possible after a deer accident. Generally, drivers are not considered to be “at-fault” for this type of collision. Though, that could vary depending on the actions of the driver involved. If you are having any difficult collecting a fair settlement for your vehicle damage or injuries, please contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately.
Do You Need Legal Assistance with a Deer Accident Claim?
The experienced car accidents lawyers at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP can help. If you have questions about a deer accident, or any other type of vehicle collision, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today. We serve accident victims in Asheville, Greenville, Franklin, Waynesville, Spartanburg, and throughout Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.