From the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Drivers are urged to slow down and stay alert to avoid deer-vehicle collisions.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, collisions involving deer during 2011 caused injuries to 613 individuals and killed six people in the state. While these figures reflect the continuing overall decline of such accidents in recent years, they illustrate the ongoing dangers that motorists face.
Accidents can occur at any time of the year, but autumn — when deer are breeding, or “in rut” — is the most dangerous. As deer search for mates, their activity levels increase, and they move more frequently.
Collisions usually occur as deer cross roadways to reach other habitat. Drivers should watch for deer especially along waterways, fencerows, field edges and wooded clearings.
The following suggestions may help motorists to avoid deer-vehicle collisions.
- Use extreme caution when driving at dawn and dusk. Deer are most active then, and visibility is poor during these peak travel times.
- Slow down when approaching deer standing near roadsides. Deer may bolt or change direction quickly and with no warning.
- If you see a deer cross the road, slow down and use extreme caution. Deer often travel in groups; if you see one, expect more.
- Be alert when passing through areas marked with deer-crossing signs. These signs are placed in areas that have shown a high incidence of deer-vehicle collisions.
- Avoid swerving into oncoming traffic to avoid deer on a roadway. Slow to a stop and wait for the deer to move.
- To encourage deer to move, flash your vehicle’s headlights or honk the horn.
In the event of an accident, drivers and passengers should not attempt to remove a dead or injured deer from a busy roadway. Instead, they should contact local law enforcement for help. Illinois law requires that all accidents resulting in damage of at least $1,500 to be reported to police.