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Oh Deer! What To Do When Encountering A Deer In The Road

Driver negligence is one of the most common causes of car accidents in Illinois. Driver negligence takes many forms, such as driving while distracted or impaired, driving aggressively, and of course, driving with no regard for traffic laws. With the right legal representation, recourse and subsequent compensation is attainable for people who are seriously injured as a result of negligence. However, our team of Chicago car crash attorneys recognizes the fact that there are instances where accidents are not the result of negligence, but other factors beyond a driver’s control.

This is the case in Coles County, Illinois, where more than half of the car crashes in 2011 involved a deer. In 2010, 39% of all auto accidents involved a deer, compared to an astounding 52% in 2011. As reported by Herald & Review, 2011 marked the first year that deer related accidents made up the majority of accidents in the county. The county sheriff may know what is happening, but he is not exactly sure why it is so, and many involved are unsure who is responsible when an accident occurs. As our Illinois car accident lawyers understand it, there is no legal recourse available to individuals involved in such a situation. A deer is not a legal agent, and it cannot provide the financial compensation necessary to pay for medical and auto repair costs.

Ultimately, if you hit a deer the burden is on you. So what can you do?

First and foremost, plan ahead. If you live in an area that has a large population of deer, such as Coles County, purchase auto insurance that covers damages from these types of accidents. Saving up emergency funds for those unforeseen costly matters of chance one is bound to experience in life is also advisable.

When you are driving, make sure to pay special attention near wooded areas. This is especially true when driving during dawn and dusk. Deer are searching for food, and are the most mobile, during these times. Additionally, deer have very reflective eyes, and you can see the reflection of your headlights shining off of them when it is dark out. If you see glowing eyes near the side of the road, or darting across it, take extra precautions. Deer travel in groups, and if you see a pair of eyes it most likely means that there are more deer nearby. If you suspect that deer are nearby, reduce your speed so that you have time to stop should a deer come jumping out in front of your car.

Most importantly, if you encounter a deer on the road and have limited time to react, do not try to swerve out of the way. Swerving out of the way risks hitting other cars and going off the road, potentially hitting something else. According to the Coles County sheriff, injury from swerving is much more likely than if you simply hit the deer. Thus, it is best in these extreme instances to slow down as much as possible, keep your car under control, and hit the deer.