Drivers warned deer-vehicle collisions increase in fall
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is urging drivers to slow down and stay alert to avoid deer-vehicle crashes this fall when the animals' breeding season increases the risk of accidents.
"Deer-vehicle collisions increase dramatically between October and December, as deer cross roads and highways more frequently in search of mates," district Ecologist Brian Kraskiewicz said.
"Drivers should be especially careful around forest preserves or wooded areas."
According to State Farm Insurance, Illinois ranked 32nd in the nation for deer-vehicle accidents in 2018. A driver in the state had a 1-in-200 chance of having a collision, a drop of 1.9% over 2017.
Most deer-vehicle accidents in the U.S. occur in October, November and December, but there are ways to lower the risk.
• Reduce your speed and watch for deer on the edge of the road, especially at dawn and dusk. They're common along woods, fields, fencerows and waterways, but you can encounter them almost anywhere.
• If you see a deer cross safely in front of your car, slow down and expect more to follow. Deer often travel in groups.
• Make note of where you've seen deer before.
• Be careful when going around curves or when approaching favored deer crossings.
• Don't assume that a deer in the road will run off as you approach. They may bolt or quickly change direction without warning.
• Don't use your horn unless it looks like you are going to collide with a deer. Distant noise may confuse the deer. Close noise may produce an extra burst of speed from the animal, but there is no way to predict how a deer will respond.
• Heed deer warning signs. They are placed in areas where deer-auto collisions are likely to occur.
• Do not swerve to avoid deer -- it could result in a more severe crash. Slow to a stop and wait. Flash your headlights to encourage the animals to move.
If an accident does occur, drivers and passengers should not attempt to remove dead or injured deer from busy roads. Instead, contact local law enforcement for help. Illinois law requires drivers to report to police any deer-related accident with more than $1,500 in damage.