November Peak Month for Deer-Vehicle Crashes

ST. PAUL, Minn. – November is the peak time for deer-vehicle crashes in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The increase in crashes is due to deer mating season occurring in November. Increased deer movement and reduction of daylight increases drivers’ chances of encountering deer on roadways.

From 2013-15, there was 6,149 reported deer-vehicle crashes, according to the Department of Public Safety. There were 15 fatalities and 944 injuries with crashes reported in every county in the state.

So far in 2017, there have been four motorcycle crashes with deer, with five fatalities reported, according to MnDOT.

For those driving on Minnesota roadways MnDOT offers the following 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 as these are areas known for large deer populations.

·         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.

·         Motorcyclists should avoid night and low-light riding times. A rider’s best response when encountering a deer is to use both brakes for maximum braking and to keep their eyes and head up to improve chances of keeping the bike up. Riders should wear full face helmets and full protective gear.

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