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The problem with deer on roadways

While collisions with vehicles continues to be a life-threatening occurrence, there are some things you can do

Try finding relevant statistics on the incidence of deer and vehicles colliding (never a good thing) and you’ll probably come away with a sense of uncertainty.

And you won’t be smarter at the end of the search.

So let’s cut to the chase. Hitting a deer with your vehicle (or the deer hitting you) is not going to go well. The deer may very well die, but that’s not the only concern when it comes to an insurer.

The problem with a deer-vehicle collision is what happens when the driver sees the deer and does something to avoid the collision in the first place.

In many cases, the driver will swerve, thinking perhaps that the severity of the situation will be lessened.

But quite likely that will only make a bad situation worse, perhaps even resulting in severe injury or death to one or more of the vehicle’s occupants.

Consider this: if you hit the deer, you will likely cause serious damage or total your car and potentially injure yourself or others.

But if you swerve to miss the deer and lose control, you will likely total your car but also injure yourself.

And remember: if you take nothing else away from this article—tell others the same thing and drive safe!

In both cases, the vehicle is damaged. But any insurance professional will tell you—fixing or replacing vehicles is much preferred to the potential injuries sustained by people.

The advice here starts with staying alert. Deer are known to be crossing roadways at any time of the year, but especially in spring and fall, and often at dawn or dusk.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a deer appear in the path of your vehicle, DON’T swerve to miss it. Remain in control of your vehicle, slow down and stay in your lane.

Always scan the sides of the roadway you’re on. Deer often travel in numbers, so if you see one, there may be others nearby.

I’m often asked about deer whistles as a preventive measure. The devices are said to emit an ultrasonic sound that can’t be heard by humans but which “warn off” deer. While our office has been giving them away for years, I can’t attest whether they actually work, mostly because I’m not a deer myself. We have many clients that swear they work and others that say they don’t or just don’t know.

One thing I do know is that you have to install them first. I know people who have had them in their glove box and never got around to putting them in their car.

And then they hit a deer.

We have deer whistles that we give out to our clients—stop by in our office in Sarnia if you want to pick up a set.

And remember: if you take nothing else away from this article—tell others the same thing and drive safe!

Barry Hogan is president of Gamble Hub International, an insurance broker based in Sarnia. Hub International has offices throughout Ontario and can be found on the web at www.hubinternational.com.

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