Should I hit a deer or swerve to avoid it?

As summer encroaches, you may want to escape the city and head out to the trails to do some hiking. Atlanta has some great trails close to town, as well as the Appalachians a couple of hours away. As you approach the trails, you are entering deer country, where these and other animals roam freely without giving too much thought to traffic.

Seeing a deer in the wild can be a highlight of your day, seeing a deer just meters in front of your car as you are driving can be scary. Your initial reaction may be to swerve to avoid the animal, but is this the best course of action?

Almost 2 million drivers collide with an animal in the United States each year, according to a report from State Farm insurance. If you are driving in Georgia, you have a 1 in 90 chance of an animal collision, which is the same chance as being born a twin. Not that common, but it happens.

If you are in deer country, your best option is prevention: Drive slower and always buckle your seat belt. Take extra care at dawn or dusk, or where signs are warning of deer, and if you see a deer, suspect there may be others around.

If you see a deer in front of your car, brake if it is safe to do so, flash your lights if you have time, but never swerve. Hitting the animal may damage your vehicle and could cause injuries to you and your passengers. Swerving to avoid the deer, could do much more damage.

If you swerve into the other lane, you could cause a collision with an oncoming car. If you swerve off the road you could hit a tree or ditch.

Now that you know how to reduce the risk of a collision with a deer, remember, not all drivers are so aware. Some drivers may still try to save a deer by swerving, which could cause them to crash into you, damaging your car and injuring you if you are on the road at the same time.