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Driving requires constant attention on the road ahead to avoid collisions with other vehicles. It’s important to remain alert to potential hazards like deer crossing the road. Drivers often wonder if there are really more deer at deer crossings than other areas or if deer crossing signs are relatively meaningless? The answer might surprise you. 

Deer collisions can cause significant vehicle damage—or worse

A yellow deer crossing sign beside a highway.
Deer crossing | Getty Images

Every year, more than 1.5 million drivers learn that hitting a deer on the road can cause severe damage to their car. According to Erie Insurance, collisions involving deer cause more than $1 billion in damage to vehicles each year. 

Unfortunately, a damaged vehicle isn’t even the worst potential result of a collision with a deer or any other animal. Still, the chances of your collision with a deer resulting in death are relatively small, it’s still not a potential outcome to be discounted altogether. In 2020 the IIHS recorded 202 deaths involving vehicle collisions with animals, some of which were no doubt due to a deer.

It’s important to be prepared as a motorist for the chance of a deer encounter on the road. Be especially careful at dawn and dusk as this is when deer are most active. They’re also most likely to be out and about during fall, which is their mating season and hunting season. 

Deer crossings do see an increased deer presence

We’ve all seen the “deer crossing” signs that aim to warn us these animals are likely to be present. But does it actually mean anything? Are you more likely to hit a deer at a location with a deer crossing sign? The short answer is yes, but why?

There is generally a higher presence of deer at locations with deer crossing signs. That’s because scientists have spent time tracking deer travel patterns, and much like humans, deer have particular routes they tend to follow. Road conditions causing lower visibility can also lead to a deer crossing sign placement.

Then there’s the fact that deer tend to travel in groups. If you see one deer at a deer crossing, there are likely to be others around. It’s essential to slow down, and keep your eyes peeled, as deer can jump in front of your vehicle more quickly than expected. 

Insurance can cover the cost of repairs when deer collisions occur

Let’s hope you never have the misfortune of colliding with a deer on the road. However, you’ll probably be eager to learn how to pay for repairs or replace your car if it happens.

Luckily, it can come in handy if you have comprehensive insurance on your vehicle when it comes to paying for damage caused by deer collisions. Comprehensive insurance is an optional car insurance coverage that covers non-collision events outside your control. This includes accidents involving animals, theft, vandalism, weather-related damage, fire, and more. 

Comprehensive insurance will cover an accident involving a deer as long as the damage is caused by actually hitting the deer rather than by swerving and hitting another object. In this case collision insurance would come into play. If you’re unsure about the specifics of your policy, consult your documentation or speak with your agent to learn exactly what you can expect from your insurance company in the unfortunate event that you hit a deer on the road. 


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