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Deer Crashes

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents


Illinois residents are no strangers to deer. Illinois has 4.4 million acres of forestland and if you live in the country or drive through the back lanes, you’re likely to see a few deer in fields or standing on the side of the road. Even if you’re a city person, all it takes is a drive through one of the state’s many forest or prairie preserves to see deer comfortably grazing nearby. The white-tailed deer is native to Illinois and is the state’s official animal.

It’s protected under Illinois’ wildlife code. As beautiful as these animals are, more than a few drivers have experienced hitting a deer. It’s a traumatic experience that not only hurts or kills the deer, it can total the car and injure the driver and passengers. If you are facing insurance issues afterwards, don’t delay contacting the right car crash attorneys to help file your insurance claim.

When the Risk of Deer Crashes is Greatest

A driver can see deer year round, but the greatest risk of a collision is between October and December. These months are white-tail deer mating and migration season. The deers are on the move a lot in these months and drivers need to be extra vigilante. Spring time also brings with it an increase in deer-related crashes because the young fawns start to travel more.

Drivers are also more likely to hit a deer at dusk and dawn. Between 5 and 10 p.m. and then 5 to 8 a.m., the deer are particularly active.

Tips to Avoid Hitting Deer

Not every deer collision can be prevented, but there are numerous steps every driver can take to lower the risk, including:

  • Don’t speed. If a deer runs out in the middle of the road and you’re moving 60 mph instead of 45 mph, you’re less likely to be able to avoid the collision.
  • Slow down on curves. It may feel ridiculous to slow down to a few mph below the speed limit, but curves in the road prevent you from seeing deer up ahead.
  • Use your brights. As long as there is no on-coming traffic, your high-beam lights can help you spot a deer sooner.
  • Honk your horn. If there’s little to no traffic around you and you spot a deer on the side of the road, slow down and honk your horn a few times to scare it off.
  • Use the center lane. On multi-lane roads, it’s often best to use the center lane. However, make sure this is OK under your state’s rules of the road.

If hitting a deer is unavoidable, don’t swerve. This can cause you to lose control of the car and cause a more significant accident.

What to do After an Accident

If you hit a deer, pull to the side of the road to get out of the way of traffic. If you have any traffic cones, you should put them out to warn other drivers that you’re on the shoulder or that there is a deer in the road. Do not try and move the animal, and if it’s still alive, do not try and approach it. Injured and scared animals can be dangerous.

Illinois requires that drivers report deer accidents. If you are in an accident with the deer, even if it runs away, contact the authorities right away. You can call 911 to report the accident. Make sure to tell the dispatcher if the animal appears to be hurt, but officials will need to come.

If you have any insurance issues after hitting a deer, call the experienced car crash attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away at (312) 236-2900.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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