KY drivers warned to watch for deer on the move - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

KY drivers warned to watch for deer on the move

This “Deer Crossing” sign provides a year-round reminder that deer can create a hazard for drivers. Deer can be especially hazardous during fall mating season. (Source: KYTC) This “Deer Crossing” sign provides a year-round reminder that deer can create a hazard for drivers. Deer can be especially hazardous during fall mating season. (Source: KYTC)
KENTUCKY (KFVS) -

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and law enforcement agencies are reminding drivers that the number of deer-vehicle crashes increase substantially during the last three months of the year as the fall crop harvest and mating season combine to put deer on the move.

“Starting around mid-October, our highway crews see an increase in the number of deer killed along our highways. A substantial number of reported collisions between deer and vehicles take a decided upturn during October, November and December,” said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor. “Motorists should use extra caution, particularly when driving during twilight hours.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, deer-vehicle crashes cause about 200 deaths annually in the U.S. The average claim for deer-vehicle in 2012 was $3,305. In one national ranking, Kentucky was 16th among the 50 states in 2012 for deer-vehicle crashes, up from 20th in 2011.

Cooler evenings and shorter days kick in the fall mating season, putting deer on the move at times when they are least visible. An analysis of crash reports indicates most auto crashes with deer are just before sunrise or just after sunset.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 150 people are killed each year in motor vehicle accidents involving deer.

Kentucky crash numbers for 2013 indicate there were 14 deer-related crashes with “serious” injuries, but no deaths. In 2014 up to Oct.1, there have been two deaths attributed to deer-related crashes and seven serious injury crashes.

In 12 Counties of KYTC District 1, only Graves County was among the top 15 for deer-vehicle crashes in 2013.

Multiple factors combine to contribute to deer-related crashes this time of year:

  • Mating season puts deer on the move
  • Crop harvest reduces food supply and hiding places
  • More farmers, hunters and hikers are in the countryside coming into contact with deer and causing them to move about
  • Deer tend to move at dawn and dusk when visibility is low

Drivers should consider these driving tips to help improve their personal safety:

  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside (especially at dusk)
  • Slow down immediately when you spot a deer. Proceed slowly until you are past the point where deer have crossed as others may follow near the same path
  • Don't swerve to avoid a deer. Stay in your lane. Swerving can result in a more serious crash with oncoming traffic
  • In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and brake down steadily
  • Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor

While deer tend to travel along fairly predictable trails most of the year, during the fall mating season they can show up in commercial and residential areas. In some counties, state highway crews remove up to 50 deer carcasses a week from mid-October until the mating season trails off around year's end.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 headquarters is responsible for approximately 2,800 miles of state highways in Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Crittenden, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Lyon, McCracken, Marshall and Trigg counties.

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