21:21 PM

It’s deer dodging season

Top tips to stay safe

John Lopez and his family had a scary experience familiar to many drivers: a deer jumped right in front of their car and, stuck between a semi and a concrete barrier, he had no choice but to hit it head-on.

This is the busiest time of the year for this kind of accident because deer are especially active during the October to December mating season. The good news is there are steps you can take to stay safe, and Lopez’s decision to stay in his lane is one of them.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), “Remaining calm, braking firmly and staying in your lane is critical because it helps you maintain control of your car and avoid involving other vehicles in a crash.”

“For auto claims like this, Nationwide offers remote inspection using photos from customers to speed up the estimation process,” explained Personal Lines Claims SVP Martha Frye. “This allows customers like Mr. Lopez to get their vehicles repaired quickly and move forward from these unexpected events.”

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Additional recommendations about deer collisions from Nationwide and III include:

  • Pay attention, from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. That’s when most deer-vehicle collisions happen.
  • Mind the signs! You’ve probably seen those “Deer crossing” signs while driving. That means the area is known to have a large deer population. Be ready to react in these areas.
  • The herd is the word. If you see one deer, others may be nearby. Just because you missed one doesn’t mean you can let down your guard.
  • Turn on your bright light! Use high beam headlights if driving at night when there is no oncoming traffic. The higher light will allow you to see a deer’s eyes on or near the roadway.
  • Make some noise! If you see a deer, blow your horn with one long blast to frighten it away.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car-deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.

After hitting the deer, Lopez pulled off the road at a gas station to examine the damage. The steering wheel seemed unbalanced and he wanted to inspect the damage. He found the front bumper, fog light, and hood were damaged, but the car was still drivable. He snapped a few photos and drove home.

The next morning, he called Nationwide’s claims department, submitted his photos and received an estimate the next day. To stay updated and keep his claim moving forward, he used Nationwide Claim Tracker to monitor how his claim was progressing.

“Communication was excellent,” said Lopez. “I would get an alert from Tracker and then my adjuster would call me almost immediately to keep the process moving forward. It took about 10 days from when I filed the claim to when my car was repaired. I was happy about how fast things kept moving.”

“We’ve invested heavily in two-way texting capabilities to improve communication and collaboration between customers and adjusters,’ explained Frye. “Connecting people through digital tools gives customers quicker and easier access to the solutions or expertise they need.”