WisDOT Warns Drivers of Increased Potential Deer/Vehicle Crashes in June

20,413 deer/vehicle crashes were reported by Wisconsin law enforcement agencies in 2016

MADISON, Wis. – Safety officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation are cautioning motorists about the increased potential of deer darting across roadways over the next several weeks.

Deer activity spikes in June as does search for places to give birth and fawns separate from their mothers.

June ranks higher than fall months for motorists getting injured in deer vs. vehicle crashes, according to WisDOT.

“This time of the year, we tend to see increases in traffic volumes, vehicle speeds, and deer activity – and that’s a dangerous combination for all motorists, but especially for motorcyclists,” David Pabst, Director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety stated in a release Wednesday. “The best way to avoid deer crashed and injuries is to slow down, buckle up, and if you’re motorcycling – always wear a helmet and other protective gear.”

WisDOT reports that 11 people were killed in deer-related crashes in 2016, all of which were motorcyclists. Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported 20,413 deer vs. vehicle crashes across the state – a county by county breakdown can be found on wisconsindot.gov.

Tips to avoid deer crashes

  • Be especially vigilant in early morning and evening hours when deer are most active.
  • Slow down and eliminate distractions.
  • Always wear your safety belt – there are fewer and less severe injuries in crashes when all vehicle occupants wear safety belts.
  • If you see a deer along the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the animal away.
  • When one deer appears, look for more. Deer seldom run alone.
  • If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don’t expect it to move away.
    • Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze.
    • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.
  • Do not swerve.
    • Swerving can confuse the deer as to where to run, and can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle and result in a much more serious crash.
    • The one exception is if you are operating a motorcycle, in which case you should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. Try to stay within your lane if at all possible to avoid hitting other objects.
  • If you do hit a deer:
    • Get your vehicle safely off the road if possible, and call law enforcement.
    • It’s generally safest to stay buckled-up inside your vehicle. Walking along the highway is very dangerous as you could be struck by another vehicle.
    • Don’t attempt to move an injured deer.
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