For those who don’t live in major cities, the true mid-westerner’s good-bye around this time of year usually includes "watch out for deer!" The well-meaning farewell is for good reason – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are about one million car crashes annually that involve deer, killing about 200 people in the process. To avoid hitting a deer, use these defensive driving tips as we edge closer into deer season.
- Be attentive during peak deer hours, which are typically from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise, which are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
- Know that deer seldom run alone. If you see one deer, there may be others nearby.
- Use high beam headlights if driving at night, when there is no oncoming traffic. The higher light will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
- Brake firmly but stay in your lane when you notice a deer in or near your path. Lots of serious crashes occurs when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
- Always wear a seatbelt! Most people injured in deer related accidents were not wearing their seatbelt.