Nature is always amazing to look at but when it looks at us, like a deer in the headlights, not so great.

Deer and other wild animals are the number one cause of car accidents in the state of South Dakota according to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

So how can you avoid hitting a deer while on the road? Here are some steps courtesy of Geico on how to avoid hitting a deer.

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1. Watch out for the whole gang

Deer are animals that travel in groups or herds. So if you see one, there is a good chance that more are close. So if one is crossing the road there are bound to be more.

2. Timing is everything

Sadly, the most common times drivers see deer is at either dusk and dawn, the two times when our driving visibility is reduced the most. The months deer are likely to also be out and about more are between January and October. So when you're driving during these times, allow for more time getting to your destination, reduce your speed and pay extra close attention to the road and its ditches for any sign of movement.

3. Use Your Headlights

Some would consider this to be common sense but then again, there are still some people who drive at night without checking to see if their headlights are even on first. But always be on the lookout for yellow diamond deer crossing signs and be prepared to react if you do see a deer wherever the yellow diamond signs are posted.

4. Try to Stay center

Now this one depends on which state you are currently driving in. For South Dakota, we are kind of unique in this regard. We are the only state that has very few if any laws regarding highway lane discipline laws. Of course, if you are ever going to cross into another lane of any kind, use your mirrors and signal before getting into a new lane. Even if you are in more of the center of the road be aware of your surroundings including other vehicles.

Staying center can allow deer and your vehicle plenty of space in order to react if need be especially on dirt or loose gravel roads.

5. Brake, instead of swerving

If you do come upon a deer that is in your lane, brake firmly and calmly. Avoid serving your vehicle as we know this could lead to you serving into other lanes of traffic or worst-case scenario, rolling the vehicle.

6. Use your horn

Deer have been known to actually be frightened by the sound of a long car horn, by hearing the horn some deer have actually been scared off the road and avoided an accident altogether.

Sources: The South Dakota Department of Public Safety & Geico

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