The Use of a Deer Whistle

Should you bother to invest in a deer whistle for your car?

If you live anywhere with deer, you’ve probably heard of a deer whistle. Deer cause more car accidents than just about anything else in a given year. These animals are so cautious you rarely see them in the wild, but they tear out of the bushes, charge into the highway, and bravely face down a charging semi. Go figure.

For those who don’t know, deer whistles are small plastic ‘whistles’ that attach to your car. The theory is that as you drive, wind forced through the whistles emit’s a high pitched sonic sound that alerts deer to your approach and frightens them away. The question is, do they work?


Scientifically speaking, most studies say no. Now, before you get excited, keep in mind that these studies don’t coincide with anecdotal evidence, and many people swear that deer whistles for cars prevent accidents on a daily basis.

Here’s what the studies show: deer whistles work only sporadically. They do emit some sort of sound, but the sound may or may not frighten deer, and anything in between the sound and the deer will, naturally, block the sound.

Here’s the thing, though: a deer car whistle is simply not that expensive, and if there’s a chance that it may prevent an accident, isn’t it worth a very small expense to protect yourself, your vehicle, and your family?


Whether you choose to use deer whistles or not, the majority of accidents fall to you to prevent. Driver alertness prevents accidents whether you use tools or not. Unfortunately where deer are concerned, it’s hard to predict when and where they will appear.

Keep in mind, too, that deer (like many animals) have a ‘freeze instinct.’ Because in the wild they have camouflage to blend in, their natural instinct when frightened is to freeze and hope the danger doesn’t see them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work so well when the danger in question is a huge vehicle bearing down on you at 60 mph.

So in the end, a deer whistle isn’t a bad idea, but preventing accidents does come down to being as vigilant as possible. Trying keeping to speed limits, Watch for warning signs, and just being as responsible a driver as possible. In spite of the studies, a deer whistle is probably worth the investment, but don’t think it makes you accident proof.