As days shorten and
the deer breeding season approaches, the chance of encountering a deer while
driving increases significantly.
Nearly 50 percent
of all vehicle accidents involving white-tailed deer occur between October
and December, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The risk of
deer-vehicle accidents can be minimized by practicing defensive driving, and
the Insurance Information Institute provides tips to reduce a motorist’s
chances of colliding with a deer:
*Deer are most
active between sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and
after sunrise, so be especially attentive at these times.
*Deer often travel
in groups, so if you see one, another is likely nearby.
careful in areas where you have seen deer before.
*Use high beams
when there is no opposing traffic and scan for deer’s illuminated eyes or
dark silhouettes along the side of the road.
cautious where agricultural fields are divided from forested areas by roads.
*If you see a deer,
slow your vehicle, even if the animal is far away.
caution along woodlot edges, at hills, or on blind turns.
*Brake when you see
a deer in your path, but stay in your lane. Most serious crashes occur when
drivers try to miss a deer but hit something else.
*Do not rely on
deer whistles or other devices. They have not been proven to reduce
According to DNR
deer biologist Joe Caudell, drivers should make a point to pay attention to
traffic signs that warn of deer crossings. Deer-crossing signs are useful
for notifying motorists of areas where additional caution should be
exercised, but drivers tend to get accustomed to such signage, which can
reduce their effectiveness over time.
If you end up
hitting a deer, remain calm and be careful.
“Although gentle in
nature, deer that are injured or stressed can be extremely dangerous,”
Caudell said. “They have sharp hooves and a powerful kick. Do not approach
the animal unless you are positive it has died.”
Caudell added that
deer can be found anywhere in Indiana, including in urban settings, so
drivers should be on the lookout no matter where they are.