DISTRACTED DRIVING

This is the time of year when deer and other wildlife are on the move.  Here are so tips on how you can be more aware and hopefully prevent an accident with a deer: 

1. Use your bright headlights if possible when driving in the morning and evening, especially around dawn and dusk. A deer's eyes will reflect in your car's headlights, making them easier to spot.

2. Look for the road signs. The yellow hazard signs with an image of a deer are placed along high-traffic routes for the animals. If you see one deer by the side of the road, chances are good others in the gang will be around, so slow down.

3. Avoid distractions, such as devices or eating, so you can watch for animals. This is important at any time but especially necessary because your vision is at its most compromised when deer are most active.

4. Stay near the center if you're on a four-lane or wider road with little traffic. This gives a deer plenty of space and can give you more time to react if one darts into the road.

5. Honk if you see a deer in the road. One long blast of your car horn can scare a deer out of your way and might be your final chance to try to avoid a collision.

6. Don't swerve to avoid a deer. You'll likely end up hitting a guardrail or tree instead and cause more injuries. Hard as it may be, it's best to strike the deer.

7. Stay in your lane and brake firmly if you have to hit a deer. Just before you hit the deer, take your foot off the brake. This will cause the nose of your vehicle to come back up, reducing the chance of the deer smashing into your windshield.

8. Get to a safe place before reporting the accident if your vehicle is not disabled after hitting the deer. This might be a driveway, a parking lot or the next exit if you're on an interstate.

9. Move your vehicle to the side of the road if possible when your vehicle is disabled. Use your hazard lights, call police and keep your seat belts on.

The most likely states where a driver is likely to have an insurance claim because of a deer, elk or moose? West Virginia, Montana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Wyoming and Mississippi. 

We encourage you to review your auto policy.  Deer claims (when striking the animal) fall under comprehensive coverage and usually have a deductible.  If you swerve to miss the deer and run off the road, it becomes a collision coverage loss which also carries a deductible.  

Avoiding distractions while driving could save your life!
You’ve seen them on the roads; you might even know a few of them, and you could be one yourself.
Distracted drivers in come in all shapes, sizes, ages and experience levels. Even if you’re not one today, you could become one at any moment — in the time it takes you to answer your cell phone or check the kids in the back seat when you’re driving through neighborhoods.
If you or someone else you know thinks you can drive just fine while talking on your phone, think about this: More than 450,000 people were injured in crashes that reportedly involved distracted driving in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 5,000 of those people died.
Distractions on the road come in many forms, according to www.distraction.gov, a U.S. Department of Transportation website. There are three main kinds of distractions:
Visual – taking your eyes off the road
Manual –taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive – taking your mind off what you’re doing
To help you avoid all three kinds of distractions the next time you’re behind the wheel of your car  here are a few tips:
- Put your phone in silent mode and store it away from the front seat or in a purse or bag. This helps reduce temptation.
- Have a passenger answer your phone or return text messages for you.
- If a call or a text can’t wait, pull over in a safe spot before using your phone.
- This one seems obvious, but finish shaving or applying makeup before you get in the car!
- If you’re emotional, wait until you’ve calmed down before hitting the road.
- Avoid road rage. You’ll be happier and safer.
Whenever you’re on the road, it’s not a time to multi-task. Focus on driving safely.

WATCH FOR DEER & WILDLIFE WHILE DRIVING