Deer are active in November. The Illinois Insurance Association reminds motorists to be alert for deer in the coming weeks.

Drivers may have little time to react when deer are on or near the roadway. A horn blast or headlight flick may scare the animal away, but deer are unpredictable. A crash may be unavoidable. Have a backup plan.

Never swerve to miss the deer. You may lose control and crash into a bridge, post, tree, or oncoming car. Serious injury and vehicle damage are likely.

Instead, prepare to strike the deer head-on. Grasp the steering wheel, apply brakes, and stay in your lane. Then find a safe place to pull off the road. Call 911. Request medical assistance if there are injuries. Stay inside the vehicle until help arrives. Do not touch the deer.

Other best practices:

• Wear a seatbelt.

• Be vigilant at dusk and dawn when deer are most active.

• Slow down in areas where deer are known to gather.

• Use high-beam headlights at night whenever possible.

Individuals often turn to an insurance company after a deer-related crash. Coverage may be available if your policy has physical damage protection. The comprehensive deductible applies when there is direct contact with the deer. Otherwise, the policy’s collision deductible applies. A liability-only policy doesn’t pay for repairs to your vehicle.

Kevin Martin

Illinois Insurance Association