Oct
08
2007

Oh deer! Watch out on the roads this fall

Deer danger: The coming of fall also means the coming of greater risk for hitting a deer while you're driving on the roads. During mating season, deer are more active and less alert. (Photo from the oops list)
Deer danger: The coming of fall also means the coming of greater risk for hitting a deer while you're driving on the roads. During mating season, deer are more active and less alert. (Photo from the oops list)
It’s that time of year again when young deer’s thoughts turn to romance.

Fall is the season when deer are mating and they don’t have all their wits about them, kind of like the people hanging out in downtown Minneapolis late on Friday and Saturday nights.

What that means is that fall is also the prime time for car/deer collisions. I’ve been through several of these personally (I even hit two deer at once one time) and it’s not fun.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that we have about 19,000 auto/deer collisions each year. Those result in around 450 injuries to humans and two deaths, on average.

On top of that, it’s not cheap to hit a deer. The average cost per insurance claim for collision damage is $2,800. If someone gets hurt, that average climbs to $10,000.

Fall is the peak time for the deer to be moving with November and December being the prime times. Here are some tips on how to deal with, and reduce, your exposure to smacking a deer on the road.

• Pay attention to deer crossing signs. They’re put up in places that traditionally have a lot of deer activity.
• Be especially aware around sunrise and sunset. That’s when deer are most often on the move.
• If you see a deer, be extra alert. There’s usually more. Deer usually travel in groups.

If you see a deer on the road:
• Slow down and blast your horn with a long blast to make it move.
• Brake firmly, but don’t leave your traffic lane. More serious accidents involving deer happen when drivers try to swerve to avoid hitting the deer, resulting in hitting other cars or obstacles along the road.
• Always wear a seatbelt. Most injuries in car/deer collisions could have been avoided by wearing a seatbelt.
• Don’t count on deer whistles, fences or reflectors to prevent deer from getting in your path. There is no proven information on these items reducing deer collisions.

Do you have a deer crash story? Let us know about it here at Science Buzz.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think its the most dangerous time in the winter when the deer are running through the roads.You have to be really careful, just on my way over here i saw a few deer hanging out in this patch of grass,and thier only way out was to run across the highway.So no matter where u are be watchful for deer.

posted on Fri, 11/28/2008 - 6:36pm

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