In the Midwest, deer breeding season runs from early October through January. They are the cause of countless car accidents, especially during these peak times, as they are the most active during breeding season. By knowing a little bit more about deer and what to do when you encounter them on the road, you can keep you and your vehicle safe from collisions this winter!
As mentioned above, deer are most commonly active during the winter months between October and January. Usually, deer are crepuscular meaning they are out and about most often at dawn and dusk. Although they may find their way into residential areas and the city from time to time, deer are most commonly found on the outskirts of towns and in wooded areas. They will often be found in packs. If you see one deer, you’re bound to see more.
The best way to avoid a deer collision is to drive slowly and carefully when driving through areas where and when deer are likely to be. Keep your eyes peeled for movement as well as the glint of eyes looking back at you. Whenever you can, use your high beam headlights & pay attention to road signs indicating the presence of deer. Lastly, in case there is a collision, always make sure to wear your seat belt when driving.
When You Come Across a Deer
If you do come across a deer, you’ll want to avoid swerving. Swerving is dangerous for a number of reasons. It can cause you to head into oncoming traffic, it can confuse the animal and change their trajectory, or it can take you off of the roadway either into a ditch or into a tree. Slow down if you see a deer on the side of the road. Blast the horn to scare them and get them out of your way, if you can.
If You Hit a Deer
If you do end up hitting a deer, make sure to let off the brakes during impact. Breaking during impact can cause your car to shift forward and down, propelling the animal through the windshield. When the crash is over, call 911 as soon as possible, regardless of the damage. You’ll want emergency services there to report the damage. Whatever you do, DO NOT touch the deer or go near it afterwards. You do not know whether the animal is still alive and it may become violent.