Watch out for deer this time of year.
The state Department of Transportation says June is one of the most dangerous months for vehicle-deer collisions in Wisconsin. Deer are active as does are searching for places to give birth and young deer separate from their mothers.
In four of the last five years, June ranked as the worst or second-worst month for injuries from crashes with deer. Last year, there were 18,864 crashes between vehicles and deer in Wisconsin. Out of the 12 fatal vehicle-deer crashes, 11 involved motorcycles.
Shawano County had the second-most crashes in Wisconsin with 800 in 2012. In Green Lake and Shawano counties, crashes with deer accounted for more than half of all motor vehicle crashes. Of the most commonly struck objects on Wisconsin roads, deer rank third behind other vehicles and fixed objects.
Here is the DOT's advice for avoiding car-deer crashes:
- Be vigilant in early morning and evening hours, the most active time for deer.
- Eliminate distractions while driving and don't speed.
- Always wear your safety belt — there are fewer and less severe injuries in crashes when safety belts are worn.
- If you see a deer by the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
- When you see one deer, look for another one — deer seldom run alone.
- If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don't expect the deer to move away.
- Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze.
- 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.
- The one exception is if you are riding a motorcycle. In this case, you should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if you need to in order to avoid hitting the deer. When swerving on a motorcycle, always try to stay within the lane if at all possible to avoid hitting other objects.
- If your vehicle strikes a deer, stay in your vehicle and do not touch the animal if it is still alive.
- The injured deer, in attempting to move, could hurt you or itself.
- Walking or stopping on the highway is very dangerous — you could be hit by an oncoming vehicle if you get out of your car.
- The best advice is to get your car off the road if possible, and call law enforcement.
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