Deer vs. Car Crashes

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Last year nearly 23,000 deer versus vehicle crashes were reported on Illinois roadways.
Deer are especially active this time of year, increasing the potential for danger.

"I did hit a deer but I was lucky because it didn't do any damage to my car and I wasn't hurt,” says Tom Clark a Farm and Fleet Assistant Manager.

Clark was lucky but last year deer versus car crashes caused more than 900 injuries in Illinois alone.

"It's a staggering number. It happens often especially this time of year because it's mating season and the harvest is going on,” says Master Sgt. Glenn Koski of the IL State Police.

Fall is the prime time for deer car wrecks and many stateline drivers are looking for help, ways to avoid injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage. An $11 vehicle deer whistle is one solution. The sound can be heard 100 yards away and it hopefully keeps the deer away from the car and keeps you from hitting it.

Many say properly installed deer whistles are a good idea, but law enforcement say common sense and caution will also go far in avoiding a crash with a deer.

“Pay particular attention at dusk and dawn. And honking your horn or flash your lights if you see a deer near the roadway,” says Koski.

If you do hit a deer, Koski says you should never try to remove the animal from a busy roadway alone. Call police for help.

Deer vs. Car crashes 2001

  • Winnebago County: 443
  • Ogle County: 299
  • Boone County 139

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    Tips to Avoid Deer on Roadways

    • Be vigilant in early morning and evening hours, the most active time for deer movement.

    • Use your high-beam headlights, which reflect in the deer’s eyes, to see the deer better.

    • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.

    • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path. Do not swerve. It can confuse the deer as to where to run. It can also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car.

    • Be alert and drive with caution when you are moving through a deer-crossing zone.

    • Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.

    • Look for other deer after one has crossed the road. Deer seldom run alone.
    • If your vehicle strikes a deer, do not touch the animal. The frightened animal, in attempting to move, could hurt you or itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.

      Source: A compilation of Web reports contributed to this report.


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