Fall in Wisconsin…It’s the time of year when deer are in rut and hunting season is upon us. Statistically, October and November have the highest number of reported deer hits. That means you need to exercise extra caution while driving.
Hitting a deer can be very expensive, causing a repair bill for your vehicle and possibly higher insurance premiums. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 2015 there were 19,976 reported cases of deer vs. vehicle accidents. In 2014 there were 10 fatalities and 410 people injured in deer related accidents.
Wondering if you have coverage for deer hits? If you have comprehensive (also referred to as, other than collision) coverage on your auto policy that will provide coverage for deer hits. This may be subject to a deductible, and is an optional coverage.
We encourage you to take extra caution when driving in the next couple of months. Below are a few tips:
- Deer are most active in the early morning and evening hours.
- Most deer crashes occur in rural areas.
- Deer crossing signs are posted for a reason. They are placed in areas where deer are commonly seen, or areas where incidents have been reported.
- Scan the roadsides for deer, and if you see a deer slow down and be sure to keep an eye out because there may be more coming.
- NEVER SWERVE. Better to hit the deer than lose control of your vehicle.
- If you want to keep the carcass, Contact the local police or the DNR before leaving the scene with it.
Just a reminder, if you swerve to miss the deer, and end up going in the ditch or hit another vehicle you have now gone from having a comprehensive claim to having a collision claim. Your collision deductible may be higher, and the incident would now be considered an at fault accident. This could result in a higher insurance premium than hitting a deer would have.
Keep the fun on the water coming — whether it’s a fishing boat, a canoe, or a personal watercraft that “floats your boat.”
Operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness, and speeding are the four leading causes of tragic watercraft crashes and the leading cause of death is drowning.
Crash statistics indicate boaters who wear life jackets and take boater safety courses are most likely to stay safe on Wisconsin waters.
Follow these basic safety tips and enjoy Wisconsin’s great lakes and rivers with family and friends.
Leave alcohol onshore.
- Never use drugs or alcohol before or during boat operation. Alcohol’s effects are greatly exaggerated by exposure to sun, glare, wind, noise, and vibration.
Use and maintain the right safety equipment.
- Have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person onboard and one approved throwable device for any boat 16 feet and longer. The DNR recommends that everyone wear their lifejackets while on the water.
- Have a fire extinguisher.
- Have operable boat lights – Always test boat lights before the boat leaves the dock and carry extra batteries. Emergency supplies – Keep on board in a floating pouch: cell phone, maps, flares, and 1st aid kit.
- Learn about some key equipment to keep you safe:
Paddle Board Safety Tips.
- Wear a lifejacket! – More than 90% of boat fatalities related to drowning involve victims not wearing life jackets, you need one for your safety. You also need one because Wisconsin law, as well as U.S. Coast Guard law, treats paddleboards the same as kayaks and canoes. This means there must be a personal flotation device for each person on board. However, the best way to obey this law and to ensure your safety is to just wear the life jacket.
- Carry a whistle
- Be a competent swimmer
- Know how to self-rescue
- Know how to tow another board
- Know the local regulations and navigation rules
- Understand the elements and hazards – winds, tidal ranges, current, terrain
- Know when to wear a leash
- Be defensive – don’t go where you aren’t supposed to be and avoid other swimmers, boaters, paddleboards
- Use proper blade angle to be the most efficient paddle boarder
- And, take a safety course
Be weather wise.
- Regardless of the season, keep a close eye on the weather and bring a radio. Sudden wind shifts, lightning flashes and choppy water all can mean a storm is brewing. If bad weather is approaching, get off the water early to avoid a long waiting line in inclement weather.
Take these steps before getting underway.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Open all hatches and run the blower after you refuel and before getting underway. Sniff for fumes before starting the engine and if you smell fumes, do not start the engine.
- Check the boat landing for any local regulations that apply. If boating on the Great Lakes or Mississippi River, review the federal regulations for additional requirements.
Loading and unloading your boat.
- Overloading a boat with gear or passengers will make the boat unstable and increase the risk of capsizing or swamping. Abide by the boats capacity plate which located near the boat operators position.
- See why it’s important not to overload your boat:
Follow navigation and other rules on the water.
- Never allow passengers to ride on gunwales or seatbacks or outside of protective railings, including the front of a pontoon boat. A sudden turn, stop or start could cause a fall overboard.
- After leaving the boat launch, maintain slow-no-wake speed for a safe and legal distance from the launch.
- Follow boat traffic rules.
Take special cold water precautions in spring.
Cold water temperatures reduce your margin for error on the water: if you fall in or your boat capsizes, you may have as little as two minutes before losing your ability to move your muscles and get back in the boat or seek help.
For more information on boat safety tips visit the Wisconsin DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov/