Deer Pose Threat to Stateline Drivers

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Drunk drivers...decreased visibility...grogginess. Those of us who drive at night in the Stateline area already have to overcome enough obstacles to get from Point A to Point B. But now that fall has arrived, drivers are facing yet another unwelcome obstacle.

Northern Illinois is well known for its excellent deer hunting. But when those creatures venture on to our highways, they pose a great risk to our safety.

State Farm Insurance released a study that showed Illinois ranks third in the country in car accidents involving deer. The chances of those accidents increases sharply in the fall, which is when deer mate and are therefore more mobile. According to the Illinois State Police, there were 23,000 accidents involving deer in 2004. However, keeping yourself and other motorists safe can be as easy as simply being aware of your surroundings.

"Reduce your speed, be alert to the presence of deer on the side of the road, scanning left and right as you're going along," says Carl Heintz, a trooper with the Illinois State Police District 16.

"You've gotta be careful in dodging a deer so that you don't collide with another vehicle," adds Allen Ethridge, a State Farm Insurance agent.

Police caution that flashing your brights and honking your horn at a deer does not work. However, you can also keep yourself safe by slowing down, maintaining a proper following distance, and alerting other drivers if you see a deer.

State Farm says that because an accident involving a deer is out of our control, it is covered by insurance under a comprehensive coverage plan.