Oh, deer: Mating season ups crash risk

October 16, 2020

As the leaves begin to change and cooler temperatures prevail, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Natural Resources are reminding you to watch out for deer. With autumn comes deer mating season, a time of increased activity at dawn and dusk from October through December.

“We are starting to begin our peak season for deer-vehicle crashes,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “We ask all drivers to keep a watchful eye and remember the cardinal rule: don’t veer for deer. While the urge to swerve is instinctual, it could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or drive into oncoming traffic, increasing the severity of a crash.”

This fall, take the following steps to help ensure your safety:
• Be aware of your surroundings, especially in areas with deer crossing signs.
• Scan the sides of the road for eye shine – the reflection of headlights in their eyes.
• Slow down if you see a deer. They travel in groups, so more are likely nearby.
• Prepare for the unexpected. Deer may stop in the middle of the road or double back.
• Deer are adaptable and can flourish in rural, suburban and urban environments.
• If a collision is inevitable, try to glance your vehicle off the deer and avoid swerving into opposite lanes of traffic.

“Deer populations are common in both rural and urban areas which means deer-vehicle collisions can happen anywhere,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “And remember, if you do hit a deer, report the accident to local law enforcement or Conservation Police Officer. They can help control traffic, clear the roadway or in the event the animal must be euthaniz