What Every Ohio Driver Should Know About Deer

Two deer running across a snowy rural road

Each year, Ohio residents are involved in over 100,000 crashes involving deer. Put another way, Ohio’s deer-related crashes account for 1-in-60 car crashes in the entire country. Given that most Ohio drivers will be in this situation at some point in their lives, it’s crucial that we all know what to do when there’s a deer in the road.

Likelihood

Deer are most active in the twilight hours (dusk to dawn) of the end of the year. Crashes start to increase around the last week of October, peak in mid-November, and then return to average around mid-January. If you’re driving at night during these times, you should remain extra vigilant and slow down, especially on icy roads.

Often, you can identify deer before they step into the road. While your headlights are on, you should scan for a pair of green dots on the side of the road. These are your headlights reflecting in the deer’s eyes. Seeing those dots and slowing down can often make the difference in avoiding a crash.

Liability

If a deer steps into the road, you can be left with a tough decision. Often, your headlights will “stun” them and leave them stranded in the middle of the road, unable to move. When that happens, you need to decide whether to swerve or hit the deer.

If you hit the deer, you could total your vehicle, and it may kick you or your passengers in the process. On the other hand, if you swerve and cause a crash, the insurance company will likely argue that the crash was preventable or that you are at fault. That can leave you in a sort of insurance paradox.

If it’s not safe to swerve, you should use the horn and slow down as much as possible before impact. The horn can cause a deer to break the headlight’s stunning effect, and slowing down gives them more time to escape (and avoid the crash altogether). If a wreck is unavoidable, slowing down will reduce the force of impact.

In either case, if you’re involved in a crash, you must remain calm, take pictures of the damages as you would with any other crash, and then contact your attorney to discuss the next steps.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car accident, we’re ready to be the experience on your side. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Dayton car accident attorney from The Attkisson Law Firm, please send us an email or call (937) 230-8330.

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