Drivers: ‘Tis The Season For Deer-Vehicle Accidents

As days shorten and the breeding season for deer approaches, the chance of encountering deer on roadways increases significantly.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources offers some solid advice for drivers in all states this fall.

Deer-vehicle accidents can be minimized by practicing defensive driving. Nearly 50 percent of all vehicle accidents involving whitetail deer occur between October and December, according to Patrick Mayer of the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Tom's News Item on Deer Vehicle Accidents 10-15 imagesKnowing the following information and practicing defensive driving will help reduce your chances of becoming a deer-vehicle collision statistic:

  • Deer are most active between sunset and sunrise.
  • Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one, another is likely nearby.
  • Be especially careful in areas where you have seen deer before.
  • Use high beams when there is no opposing traffic; scan for deer’s illuminated eyes or dark silhouettes along the side of the road.
  • If you see a deer, slow your speed drastically, even if it is far away.
  • Exercise extreme caution along woodlot edges, at hills, or blind turns.
  • Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer; most serious crashes occur when drivers try to miss a deer, but hit something else.

According to Mayer, drivers should pay attention to traffic signs warning of deer crossings. Deer crossing signs have proven effective at notifying motorists of areas where caution should be exercised, but drivers tend to get accustomed to such signage, reducing their effectiveness over time.

Mayer notes if you hit a deer, remain calm.

“Although gentle in nature, deer that are injured or stressed can be extremely dangerous,” Mayer said. “They have sharp hooves and a powerful kick. Do not approach the animal unless you are positive it has expired.”

Motorist also should exercise increased vigilance between sunset and sunrise.

Be careful out there!


Guide Outdoors Readers: Do you have any deer-vehicle collision tales you can share? Did one ever wreck your sweet ride? Please comment below.

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.