Beware: 'Tis The Season For Crashes With Deer

September 28, 2010

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) warns that the chance of hitting a deer with a vehicle shoots up during fall.

During their mating season in October and November, deer are more active, especially at dusk and dawn when they move to and from bedding and feeding areas, so more deer dart onto highways at this time of year.

“To avoid deer crashes, drivers must slow down when they see deer in the area. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby that could dash in front of your vehicle,” says Dennis Hughes, manager of safety programs for WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety.

“If you can’t avoid a deer, it’s safer to hit the brakes and hit the deer than to swerve suddenly and try to miss it. If you swerve, you risk losing control of your vehicle and rolling over or hitting another car or a tree,” he added.

WisDOT offers this advice for avoiding collisions with deer:

• Be vigilant, drive cautiously, and slow down in early morning and evening.

• Always wear your safety belt.

• Pay attention to deer-crossing signs.

• If you see a deer by the side of the road, slow down and blow one long blast on your horn to frighten the deer away.

• When you see one deer, look for another one – they seldom run alone.

• If you see a deer looming in your headlights, don’t expect it to move away – headlights can confuse a deer and cause it to freeze.

• Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.

• Do not swerve – it can confuse the deer as to where to run – and cause you to lose control.

• If you hit a deer, get your vehicle off the road if possible, and then call law enforcement. Stay in your vehicle if you can.

• Don’t not try to move the animal if it is still alive. The injured deer could hurt you.