Deer on the Highway

Deer crossing road with oncoming car in backgroun

Deer are plentiful in North Carolina, and many motorists find themselves face to face with the wild animals on the road.  Here are a few steps for dealing with deer and other wildlife on the roads:

How to Avoid a Collision with a Deer or Other Wildlife

Use high beam headlights at night when there is no approaching traffic.  The lights will illumine the eyes of deer on or near the road.  If you see one deer, there are usually others as well. 

Know their most active times. Deer like to move at dawn and dusk, so take extra precaution during these times.

In wooded or farmland areas, particularly where deer crossing signs are posted, decrease your speed and increase your distance from the vehicle in front of you.

If you see a deer in the middle of the road, slow down and honk your horn to encourage the deer to move. If the deer remains in the road, turn on your hazard lights and wait for the deer to move.

Don't swerve to avoid striking a deer. It is better to hit the animal while keeping control of your vehicle than hitting another vehicle head-on, or causing another vehicle to lose control.

What to do if you hit a deer or animal on the road

Pull over to side of the road. Put your hazard lights on and contact the police to report the incident. 

Stay away from the animal. If it is still alive, it could be in distress and dangerous. Wait for the authorities to arrive.

Document. Take photos of any damage to the vehicle and surroundings. They could be used to file an insurance claim.