Doe! A deer!


First came the stunning admission that several years’ worth of “clean diesel” VWs were rigged to cheat emissions tests. Then came the realization that for almost three years my beloved Golf TDI has been spewing nitrogen oxide at a rate nine times the legal limit. Then came winter (again) and snow and ice (again) and great, big, blinding squalls.

And now I have to worry about deer. Yes, deer. Deer that fly in out of nowhere, hip-check your front fender, graze your right front tire and ricochet off your rim, leaving a little deerskin residue behind in the process. Yeah, that’s a technical term.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that my newly tricked-out deerskin-trimmed rim doesn’t take automotive accessorizing to a whole new level, as you can see. Or that just a bit gives you a whole lotta bang for the buck. I just wish Bambi had stopped at the rim.

But, of course, Bambi didn’t stop there. He had to go and mess with my fender and bumper, too. Not to mention the damage to my psyche.

Adnuolisphobia (aka Deer Phobia)

So now, in addition to emissions and snow and ice and great, big, blinding squalls, I have to worry about deer. Mind you, it’s not like I didn’t think about them before. I cover 200 miles of highway, four days a week, going back and forth to work. Plus, most of it cuts through lakes-and-mountain country. So, of course, I’ve thought about deer! I just didn’t worry about them.

And apparently, there’s good reason to worry. According to State Farm, over 1.25 million U.S. drivers filed deer collision claims from July 2014 through June 2015, with an average cost per claim of over $4,000. The risk varies by state (see chart below), with the worst odds in West Virginia, where drivers have a 1 in 44 chance of a deer run-in. Montana drivers fare only a little better, with a 1 in 63 chance. In New Hampshire, where I live, the odds are 1 in 252. Go figure.


Little wonder there’s a medical term for the fear of deer: adnuolisphobia, a derivative of adnuolis, the scientific name for white-tailed deer. The most common symptoms of adnuolisphobia are breathlessness, excessive sweating, dry mouth, shaking and heart palpitations. In severe cases, adnuolisphobics suffer from incoherence, loss of control and full-blown anxiety attacks. Hmm, I wonder how a short-term disability claim for adnuolisphobia would go over…

Fear Not, Deer-Wary Drivers

Alas, there’s help for the deer-wary, in the form of commonsense advice from our friends at State Farm. Here, State Farm’s five most important things to do in the event of a deer collision:

  • Move your vehicle to a safe place. Pull off the road if you can, and turn on your hazard lights. If you need to leave your vehicle, stay out of the way of other oncoming vehicles.
  • Call the police. Alert authorities if the deer is blocking traffic. If the collision causes injury or property damage, you may have to fill out an official police report. This report can come in handy when filing your insurance claim.
  • Document the incident. Take photographs of your surroundings, damage to your vehicle, and any injuries to you or your passengers. If there are witnesses, ask for their account of what happened and their contact information.
  • Stay away from the deer. A frightened, wounded animal could harm you.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights and other safety hazards. When in doubt, call for a tow.
  • Contact your insurance agent. Do this as soon after the incident as you can.

One final piece of advice from State Farm: Make sure you have the right type of insurance. Comprehensive insurance, not collision, covers damages from deer accidents. Contact State Farm to learn more. And be safe out there.