In a typical year, over a million American drivers and riders will hit an animal on the road. Deer collisions are especially deadly for bikers, who are at a much higher risk of serious injuries or fatalities in an unexpected encounter with a whitetail.
So how do you protect yourself against deer accidents? See our tips to avoid hitting a deer while driving a motorcycle.
Risk Factors for Deer Collisions
- Season: Fall is the primary season for deer travel and migration because that’s when mating happens. Spring also brings a lot of deer migration when yearlings disperse and claim new territories.
- Time of the day: The peak of deer activity is at dusk and dawn, especially the evening twilight hours when deer wake up and start foraging.
- Location: Some states, like Texas, Michigan, Alabama, and Wisconsin, have an especially high deer population. You’re also more likely to encounter a deer when riding through a forested area. Texas has the largest deer population with over 5.5 million estimated.
- Road conditions: The danger of a fatal deer encounter rises dramatically when you’re riding down a road with poor visibility, lots of loops and turns, or any conditions that can cause a longer reaction time.
Strategies That Will Reduce Your Chances of Hitting a Deer
Responsible riding can help you avoid hitting a deer while driving a motorcycle. Use the following strategies to reduce your risk of a deer collision.
1. Watch for Deer Crossing Signs
Look out for deer crossing signs, especially when you ride through state parks, nature reserves, and rural areas. These signs often appear in places that the deer favor or where numerous deer collisions have happened before. When you see such a sign, stay extra vigilant until you pass the risky area.
Did you see a deer on the road? If there’s one, a herd is likely nearby. Stop until you make sure all animals have crossed the road safely.
2. Adjust Your Speed
Ride more slowly, especially in regions with large deer populations and at times when deer are active. Speeding through a twisty road in Texas Hill Country at dusk during the fall season is a recipe for a deer encounter.
3. Brake, Don’t Swerve
Swerving may be an instinctive reaction when you see a deer standing in the middle of the road. However, a sharp swerve can be extremely dangerous since it could lead to a collision with something else, like a tree or another vehicle. It’s usually more beneficial to brake to avoid hitting the animal.
4. Try Deer Whistles
Deer whistles are simple, inexpensive contraptions you can mount on your bike. When you ride, the air flows through the deer whistle and creates a sound that’s designed to deter deer. Although some studies question the effectiveness of deer whistles, they’re worth trying as an additional protective strategy.
5. Use Protective Gear
While wearing a helmet won’t prevent you from hitting a deer, it can save your life or reduce the risk of serious injuries if a collision happens and you fall off your bike. Choose a DOT-approved, full-face helmet for maximum protection.
Did You Hit a Deer? Call Law Tigers for a Case Evaluation
Even if you take every precaution to avoid hitting a deer while driving a motorcycle, avoiding a deer can cause a collision. If you suffer an injury from a motorcycle accident, contact Law Tigers at 888-863-7216 24/7 or contact us online for a case evaluation.