MnDOT Offers Tips To Help Avoid Deer-Vehicle Crashes
The Minnesota Department of Transportation says that November is the peak month for deer-vehicle crashes. That's because deer mating season occurs in November, so deer are on the move and there are less daylight hours in which to drive.
According to the Department of Public Safety, there were 6,149 reported deer-vehicle crashes, with 15 fatalities and 986 injury crashes. Furthermore, crashes were reported in every county in the state.
MnDOT says that Deer are more likely to be encountered in areas where habitat is close to the roadway, such as a bridge crossing over waterways, and during the early morning and evening hours when deer are most active.
While accidents happen, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being involved in one or getting seriously injured. MnDOT offers these tips:
- Be particularly alert in the fall and spring. More than half of the crashes happen in late October and November when deer are mating, and in May and June during the birthing season.
- Be vigilant at dusk and at dawn. A high percentage of crashes occur during the low-light or dark hours of the day when deer move between daytime bedding sites and evening feeding areas.
- Slow down and scan the sides of the road and ditches for animals when driving through forested lands or near river and stream banks. Especially drive with caution in marked deer-crossing zones and along roads surrounded by farmland or forests.
- Drive defensively and expect the unexpected. If you see a deer near the road, slow down because it might dart in front of you. If you see one deer, look for the next one. Deer often travel together but single file.
- Don't swerve. While it may seem like the right thing to do, swerving to avoid a deer could cause you to lose control or travel into the path of another vehicle. Striking a deer is safer than colliding with another vehicle or a tree. Stay in your lane, brake firmly and hold onto the steering wheel.