Motorists advised to watch for deer

Motorists advised to watch for deer

Posted: Monday, October 4, 2010 9:09 pm

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is issuing a warning to motorists that vehicle-deer collisions have taken an upturn about two weeks earlier than normal this year.
Dry weather prompted farmers to start the fall harvest earlier than normal this year. That, in turn, has helped put deer on the move earlier than usual.
“Our highway crews normally notice an increase in the number of deer killed along our highways starting the first few weeks of October and continuing through December. This year our crews are reporting an early increase in deer-vehicle collisions,” said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Jim LeFevre. “About half of all collisions with deer occur in October, November and December each year.”
In 2009, there were 3,031 collisions with deer reported in Kentucky, resulting in one fatality and 142 injury crashes (resulting in 172 injuries). That compares with 2008, when there were 2,926 deer-related crashes reported in Kentucky, resulting in two fatalities and 178 injuries.
“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, about 150 people are killed across the nation each year in motor vehicle accidents involving deer,” said Kentucky Highway Safety Director Chuck Geveden. “While collisions involving deer occur year-round, about half are reported during October, November and December when deer are most active.”
Geveden says motorist should be especially watchful at dawn and dusk, when visibility is low and deer are more likely to be on the move.”
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.
Motorists 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.
• 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.
Geveden noted that while deer tend to travel 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 the first of the year. Highway officials urge everyone to be especially alert for deer for the next three months.
The Kentucky Transpor-tation 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.

Published in The Messenger 10.01.10

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