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Deer expected to cause many accidents in coming weeks

If you are a hunter or have hunters in your family, then you know that the rut is upon us. For the non-hunters out there, rutting season is mating season for deer. It is also the time of year when car accidents involving deer spike in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

The rut starts now and lasts about six weeks, so safety officials are warning drivers to use extra caution. Unfortunately, collisions involving deer can be fatal, and not just for the animal. An Oklahoma news station reported that there have been multiple deaths in recent years because of accidents involving deer.

In many cases, accidents occur when deer jump out into the roadway in front of a vehicle and the vehicle either hits the deer or swerves to miss the deer and hits another vehicle or ends up in the ditch. In other cases, yet, deer have been known to crash into the side of vehicles.

No matter how they happen, accidents involving deer can cause injuries as well as expensive property damage. Auto insurance rates can also rise following a collision with a deer, the Oklahoma Insurance Department says. The government agency has many tips for avoiding a deer-related collision, as well as that to do if a collision occurs.

How to avoid an accident

  • Remember that deer usually travel in herds, so if you see one, make sure to watch for others nearby.
  • Keep an eye out for deer signs, which are positioned at known deer crossings, and slow down when you see them.
  • Animals are usually most active early in the morning and at sunset, so be on alert for deer during these times.
  • Use your high beams if there is no oncoming traffic because they make it easier to see animals in the roadways and ditches.

What to do if you hit a deer

Despite what your instincts probably tell you, safety officials say it is best to slow down and brace to hit a deer that jumps in front of your vehicle rather than trying to swerve or slam on the brakes to avoid it. Swerving can result in causing a more serious accident, and slamming on the brakes can caused the animal to crash through the windshield, seriously injuring or killing the vehicle occupants.

After hitting a deer, take these steps:

  1. Move your car, if possible, to a safe location on the side of the road.
  2. Call the police if you cannot move your vehicle or if the animal is in the roadway.
  3. Stay away from the deer, which could act aggressively if scared or injured.
  4. Take photos of the scene, your vehicle and your injuries.
  5. Call a tow truck and/or ambulance, if necessary.
  6. Seek out medical treatment, if necessary.
  7. Call a personal injury lawyer if your injuries are severe or your insurance company denies or limits your claim.
  8. Never accept a lump sum settlement offer from the insurance company before speaking with a lawyer.

Finally, remember that insurance companies always have their own interests in mind. The only way to ensure that you are getting a fair settlement is by working with a lawyer.

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