Time for car versus deer crashes is here; WisDOT offers advice

deer-wikicom-usdabyScottBauer-webThe time of year for crashes involving motorists striking deer is upon Western Kenosha County.

How often does someone run into a deer in their car in Kenosha County? Pretty often. The number of deer crashes over the last three years have been 140, 152 and 153.

Here is some information and tips offered by the  Wisconsin Department of Transportation on how to avoid — as much as you can — being involved in a serious deer vs. car crash:

This is the time of year when drivers are more likely to encounter deer darting onto roads and into the paths of their vehicles. Bucks will be chasing potential mates during the breeding season in October and November. Deer also will be especially active at dusk and dawn while moving back and forth between their bedding and feeding areas.

“To avoid hitting deer with your vehicle, you should slow down whenever you see them nearby. If you see one deer, there are probably more in the area,” says David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. “If you can’t avoid a deer in the road, it’s safer to hit the brakes and hit the deer than to swerve suddenly and try to miss it. If you swerve, you risk losing control of your vehicle. You may end up hitting another car or a stationary object like a tree.”

Motorcyclists must be especially careful because deer crashes can be fatal. Two of the five people killed in crashes with deer last year in Wisconsin were motorcyclists.

The one exception to the ‘don’t swerve’ recommendation applies to motorcyclists,” Pabst says. “Motorcyclists should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. If they must swerve, motorcyclists should try to stay within their driving lane to avoid hitting other vehicles or objects.”

Last year, Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported a total of 19,976 deer vs. motor vehicle crashes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). Dane County had the most motor vehicle vs. deer crashes reported in 2015 with 978. Waukesha County had the second most with 819 followed by Washington County with 769. In Door, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Shawano and Waupaca counties, more than half of all reported crashes in 2015 involved deer. Deer are the third most commonly struck objects in Wisconsin traffic crashes (behind other vehicles and fixed objects).

WisDOT and the Wisconsin State Patrol offer the following advice to prevent deer crashes:

  • Be on the lookout for deer, eliminate distractions while driving, and slow down especially in early morning and evening hours, which are the most active times for deer.

  • Always buckle up. There are fewer and less severe injuries in vehicle vs. deer crashes when drivers and passengers wear seat belts.

  • If you see a deer by the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten it away.

  • When you see one deer, look for another one. Deer seldom run alone.

  • If you see a deer looming in your headlights, don’t expect it to move away. Headlights can confuse a deer causing it to freeze.

  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.

  • Don’t swerve suddenly because you may lose control of your vehicle.

  • If you hit a deer, get your vehicle off the road if possible, and then call a law enforcement agency. Walking on a highway is dangerous, so stay in your vehicle if you can.

  • Don’t try to move the animal if it is still alive. The injured deer could hurt you.


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