The fall season is beautiful, but it also introduces a few different driving hazards… deer collisions being one of them. From October to December, mating and hunting season make deer go on the move. For drivers, that means you’re more likely to hit one.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, deer-vehicle collisions are the top animal-related claim in the U.S. Before you get too worried, here are some helpful tips on how to avoid hitting a deer… and how to handle things if you end up hitting one despite your best efforts.
HOW TO AVOID HITTING A DEER
Know where the deer are likely to be. Areas with high deer populations are normally marked with a bright yellow sign. Deer also tend to graze in wooded areas or open fields. When driving your usual route to work, be attentive to areas where you’ve seen deer in the past – they are likely to cross there again.
Be alert at sunrise and sunset. Deer are more active during dawn and dusk hours.
Use your high beams. When possible, use your high beams for better visibility. The extra light will help make it easier to spot a deer, or other animals, lurking alongside the road.
Don’t rely on deer gadgets. Whether it’s a deer whistle, deer fence or other type of product to scare away the deer… don’t rely solely on them to keep deer away. Research isn’t exact on whether or not these products truly work.
Related: Fact or Fiction? Debunking 6 Common Myths About Deer
When you see one… you’ll probably see more. Deer travel in groups. If one comes across your path, proceed with caution in case there are more.
Don’t swerve. Swerving isn’t always the safest option. Hitting a deer might often cause less damage than swerving to avoid it… and then hitting a more dangerous obstacle, like a vehicle in oncoming traffic.
Related: What’s Safer… Swerving or Staying the Course?
Wear your seat belt. If you do hit a deer, wearing a seat belt decreases your chances of injury.
Spread the word. When friends or family head out on the road, let them know to be careful and alert. Even a simple reminder can help prevent deer collisions.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HIT A DEER
Taking the above precautions can help you avoid hitting a deer… but nothing can entirely rule out the possibility. Here are steps you can take after you hit a deer.
Pull over. Move your vehicle to a safe place off the road. Don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights.
Stay away from the deer. An injured deer can still lash out and hurt someone.
- Assess the damage. When you’re out of harm’s way, examine your vehicle and take photographs of any damage to your car. Use good judgement to know if your car is safe to drive or if you’ll need to call for a tow truck.
Call for help. Depending on the circumstances, consider calling the police or an animal expert. While it’s not always required to file a police report, it can provide evidence if you decide to make an insurance claim. If the deer is still in the middle of the road, a trained professional from animal control, the game commission or your local fish and wildlife service can move it away for everyone’s safety.
Know if you should file an insurance claim. An insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent can help you make the decision based on the specifics of your auto insurance policy. Talking with someone you already know and who is familiar with the claims process can help put your mind more at ease.
DOES MY AUTO INSURANCE COVER HITTING A DEER?
You can’t always predict if a deer will walk into your path, but if one does, we’re here to help get you back on the road as soon as possible. At Erie Insurance, deer-vehicle collisions are covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance, which is an optional coverage you can choose to add on. (Learn more about understanding your auto policy.)
An insurance professional like a local Erie Insurance agent can help you customize an auto insurance package that fits your needs and budget. Find a local ERIE agent in your neighborhood or get a free online auto insurance quote.
This article was originally published on Oct. 26, 2015. It was revised with new information on Nov. 19, 2018.
Posted on 18 November 2018 | 9:00 pm
Maybe you’ve been there before. Something changed in your life – you bought a new car, moved into a new neighborhood or started a new job...then, one day, you notice what you pay for auto insurance changes. Why does that happen?Ultimately, what ends up on your insurance bill depends largely on both what you drive and how you drive… as well as other things related to your overall life. While every insurer handles things a little differently, here are the most common things that affect the price of your auto premium.
Key factors related to what you drive:
Vehicle safety ratings are determined through tests and evaluations by the auto industry and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Insurance companies supplement that information by collecting large amounts of data from customer claims. Safer vehicles are often less expensive to insure. Meanwhile, some insurers increase premiums for cars that have poor safety records and are more susceptible to damage or occupant injury.
Newer model or popular favorite?
Insurance companies carefully track data on vehicles to determine which makes and models are more prone to mechanical or safety issues.
The longer an insurance company insures a type or model of car, the more data it has to determine fair pricing. If the vehicle has built a solid track record over several years, odds are it will insure at a reasonable rate, and stay stable over time. Conversely, vehicles with poor safety history, a short track record, or those that are a favorite target for thieves will be costlier to insure.
Cost of maintenance and repairs
Information about the cars that are cheapest to maintain and service can also be a good indicator of the most-affordable cars to insure. Vehicles that have lower reliability ratings can be a warning light of potentially higher insurance costs, because insurance companies take the data about maintenance and service of specific models into consideration when determining premium rates.
You may think a smaller car means a smaller insurance premium. But not so fast. In an accident, larger vehicles tend to fare better – and keep occupants safer – than smaller vehicles. That can translate to lower premiums for a larger vehicle.
If your car has an alarm, a tracking device to help police recover it, or another theft deterrent, it's less attractive to thieves… and less expensive to insure, too.
Key factors related to how you drive:
As we mentioned, it’s not just about the car, but also the driver. Here are some key ways how you drive can factor into insurance pricing.
Your driving history
Your track record on the road can have a direct impact on your wallet when it comes to insurance. Insurance companies have found that past performance often does foretell future results. If you’ve had speeding tickets or accidents, or other violations within the last few years, your auto insurance rate may be higher than if you have a spotless driving record.
How much you drive
Are you a road warrior, or a homebody? The difference will show up in your premium rates. Someone who drives only a few miles a week will likely pay less for auto insurance than someone who covers hundreds of miles most weeks. It just makes sense, the more time on the road increases the chances of being involved in a crash or sustaining damage to your car.
Other factors to consider:
Your credit history
Research has shown that good credit is connected to good driving – and vice versa. Certain credit information can be predictive of future insurance claims. When permissible, many insurance companies use credit history to help determine the cost of car insurance. The bottom line: Good credit can have a positive impact on the cost of your car insurance.
Your age, sex, and marital status
Crash rates are higher for all drivers under age 25, especially single males. Insurance prices in most states reflect these differences. If you're a student, you might also be in line for a discount. Most car insurers provide discounts to student-drivers who take driver-safety training and start building a safe driving record.
Where you live
One key factor that goes into insurance pricing is largely out of your control – at least in the short-term. That’s where you live. Generally, due to higher rates of vandalism, theft, and crashes, drivers in more densely populated areas may pay more for car insurance. If you do live in a higher cost insurance area, make sure to pay close attention to the other factors that you can control. An ERIE agent can help.
Doing your homework makes a difference
It’s no fun getting an unexpected surprise about insurance costs. By doing some homework upfront about potential auto insurance rates, you can make informed decisions and better understand why your rates go up or down.
Better yet? You don’t have to do it alone.
Erie Insurance agents are here to help you understand and navigate all the variables that impact your rates. Find a local ERIE agent in your neighborhood to understand what coverage you’re buying, why it matters and how it works.
Posted on 11 November 2018 | 9:00 pm
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips. Whether you’re driving over the river or through the woods this holiday season, here’s what to know to safely (and sanely) arrive at your destination.
BEFORE THE DRIVE
Get your car in gear. Now is the time to make sure you’re on schedule with oil changes, wheel alignments and any other services your car manufacturer recommends. Also, make sure your tires are properly inflated — cooler weather can make the pressure drop more than usual.
- Master the art of not getting lost. Have all your addresses handy, and consider inputting them into your GPS before you set off. If you plan on using Internet-based map services like Google Maps, make sure to save the maps to your device — you never know when you’ll enter an area without service.
Bring backup chargers — and lots of them. Things can quickly go south when devices run out of power. Bring extra chargers — or, even better, invest in a multiple-port car charger.
- Stock your emergency kit. To quote your mom, safety first. Even if you’re only traveling to the next town, it’s essential to have a fully stocked emergency kit, just in case.
Prepare for, “Are we there yet!?” Road trips with kids can create lasting family memories… but also test a parent’s patience. If you’re traveling with kiddos, make your trip more engaging with these 4 brilliant ways to keep kids occupied on road trips.
- Don’t forget your furry friends! Traveling with Fluffy or Rover? Then make sure you have a safe pet harness and/or pet carrier and a pet kit full of food, bottled water, toys and any necessary medications.
HELPFUL WEBSITES AND APPS
Here are five apps travel gurus rely on:
- GasBuddy to locate the cheapest fuel wherever you are.
- Roadfood to forgo rest stop food in favor of memorable small-town eats along the way.
- Sit or Squat to learn which public restrooms are clean—and which aren’t.
- iExit to find out what kind of food, fuel and lodging is available at upcoming exits.
Waze to get real-time traffic updates along your route.
EMERGENCY ROAD SERVICE: A TRAVEL ESSENTIAL
Picture this: You get a flat tire… but there’s still 200 miles to go before you’re home for the holidays. Do you know who to call for help?
A flat tire, lockout or a dead battery is a major hassle anytime, but especially during holiday travel. Fortunately, ERIE offers 24/7 Roadside Assistance that pays for reasonable auto towing and required labor costs at the site of your vehicle breakdown. (Yes… even at 2 a.m. on Black Friday.)
Emergency Road Service* is an optional add-on to your auto insurance policy that’s available with the purchase of comprehensive coverage. Better yet? It only costs about $5 per vehicle per year.
MORE TURKEY DAY TIPS
Check out these other helpful stories from the Eriesense blog:
- How to Prep Your Kitchen for Thanksgiving Dinner
- The Ultimate Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving
- 7 Safety Tips for Using Turkey Fryers
From the simple pleasures of being together to time-honored family traditions… Thanksgiving is about making memories with the people you love. Enjoy yours, and travel safe!
*Restrictions apply in North Carolina. This program does not cover accident-related towing.
Posted on 11 November 2018 | 9:00 pm
Nothing beats the cozy feeling of a warm, crackling fire.
Whether you light up your fireplace all season long or just for special occasions… burning the right wood makes a big difference. Check out this list of best firewood tips before you stock up for the winter.
What makes good firewood?
- Choose hardwood: This type of wood is denser and burns more efficiently with less smoke. Common hardwoods include oak, beech, ash, hickory, hard maple and pecan.
- Make sure it’s seasoned: That means that the wood has been split into pieces and left to age in a dry place for at least six months. Properly seasoned hardwood feels light when you pick it up and makes a distinct “clink” sound when you hit two pieces together.
- Buy it where you burn it: Aim to get your firewood from the closest source you can find – 10 miles or less is best. Why? Moving firewood can spread tree-killing diseases, fungus or invasive species. Even if the wood looks normal, these tiny threats can tag along unseen and eventually spread to harm whole forests.Learn more at DontMoveFirewood.org.
- Know what to avoid: Steer clear of freshly cut “green” wood, which has too much moisture to burn properly. Never burn leftover construction wood or painted wood, which can release toxic chemicals into the air. Finally, avoid softwoods like pine – this wood is filled with sticky resin, which produces a lot of smoke and can gum up your chimney with harmful creosote.
One final tip: Don’t forget the chimney inspection. A professional chimney sweep has the tools, equipment and experience to check for safety issues you might not notice. Learn more about how to hire a chimney sweep.
Posted on 8 November 2018 | 9:00 pm
When it comes to weather conditions, fog is one of the most unpredictable. Your view can be clear one minute and cloudy the next. Because after all, that’s what fog is — a cloud on the ground.
If you’ve ever driven through dense fog, you know it can feel like you’re driving blindfolded. But while you can’t control the weather… you can control how you drive in unpredictable conditions like fog, rain, ice or snow.
So, here are five tips to help you drive safely through the fog:
Slow down. Traveling at a reduced speed will give you more time to react and minimize the potential for any impact. If you think you’ll be driving in foggy conditions, be sure to allow extra drive time to make it to your destination safely.
Brighten up. Turning on your headlights will help you see the road ahead, while helping others see you. And as their name suggests, fog lights also increase visibility by shining more light closer to the road surface. Just avoid using your high beams, which actually reduce visibility by producing glare.
- Leave some space. Low visibility can lead to slower reaction times. Increase the distance between you and the vehicles ahead to help account for any sudden stops.
Follow the lines. In dense fog, you won’t always be able to rely on what you see ahead. If your visibility is limited, focus on the road markings to make sure you’re staying in your lane.
- Pull over. If you can’t see in front of you, the best course of action may be to pull over. Turn on your hazard lights and pull off the roadway in a safe location, like a rest stop or parking lot. Then, wait until conditions improve.
These driving tips can help you navigate the foggiest of situations. But it’s always important to have a clear view of your insurance coverage.
At Erie Insurance, our promise is simple: to be there when you need us. Whether taking the road less traveled or on your daily commute, you can count on us. So contact a local ERIE agent to make sure you’re prepared for the road ahead.
Posted on 6 November 2018 | 9:00 pm