TOPEKA, Kan. — It is the time of the year again when deer just don’t pay attention to signs—or vehicles. As if they ever do.
The reality of driving on Kansas roads and highways from now through spring is the possible encounter with a deer. Consider the following statistics.
- Kansas ranks in the top 20 states in frequency of deer-vehicle mishaps. The chance of a driver having a vehicle collision with a deer in Kansas is approximately 1 in 125.
- The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) 2016 deer crash report shows 10,150 total crashes, with 495 injuries and 7 deaths. This is the highest number of deer-related crashes in the state since 2011.
- The national average cost per vehicle claim from a deer-vehicle collision hovers around $4,000, according to reports.
- The southern and southeastern portions of the state have the highest number of reported deer crashes, according to KDOT statistics. Almost half of Kansas counties show that one in three of their total vehicles crashes is deer-related.
Kansas motorists should check with their insurance agents to find out the type of vehicle accident damage coverage their policies have. Deer accidents are usually covered under a person’s comprehensive coverage, not collision coverage. You will have to pay your deductible amount in order to receive your company’s coverage. However, if you have liability only for your vehicle coverage, you will probably have to cover the damage repairs out of your own pocket.
When a vehicle-deer crash occurs, you should consider the following:
- Contact your insurance agent or company quickly to begin the claims process.
- If you do hit a deer and are uncertain whether the animal is dead, keep your distance. You might be dealing with an injured, wild animal with sharp hooves.
- If the deer is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other motorists, you should immediately report the incident to the local law enforcement agency.
- Stay alert, always wear your seat belt and drive at a safe, sensible speed for conditions.
- Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road.
- Do not rely exclusively on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer.
- When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no opposing traffic. The high beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway.
- Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious accidents occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit other vehicles or lose control of their cars. Potentially, you will risk less injury by hitting the deer.
- If you see one deer, it is likely there are more nearby.
- If the deer stays on the road, stop on the shoulder, put on your hazard lights and wait for the deer to leave the roadway; do not try to go around the deer while it is on the road.
Source: Kansas Insurance Department