Half of All Collisions Involving Deer Occur in Oct-Nov-Dec
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 16, 2023) – The annual “Antler Alert” issued by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) reminds motorists that the peak season for deer-vehicle collisions is upon us. About half of all deer-related crashes occur during the last three months of the year, with November having the most.
“As our traffic engineers review data for crash trends across the Commonwealth, the increase in deer-vehicle collisions in October, November, and December is noticeable, with a peak in November,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “That’s why we take time each year to remind drivers to use extra caution now through December as deer and other wildlife are on the move. While deer can show up at all hours, they create a particular hazard at dusk and at night when visibility is not the greatest.”
According to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Acting Deer Program Coordinator Joe McDermott, deer mating season is triggered by shorter days and cooler nights, putting deer on the move. Farmers harvesting crops contribute to this movement as deer are forced to range farther afield for forage and hiding places.
“With the onset of fall comes the breeding season, or rut, for white-tailed deer,” McDermott said. “As the rut approaches, bucks begin chasing does in an attempt to breed. Deer essentially have blinders on during this time, which makes them particularly susceptible to motor vehicle collisions.”
In addition to causing vehicle damage, deer can be hazardous to humans. Deer are among the leading causes of animal-related human deaths in the United States, contributing to about 200 deaths on America’s highways every year.
In Kentucky, 3,084 highway crashes involving deer were reported to police in 2022, up about 100 from the 2021 numbers. There were four reported fatalities and 20 serious injuries due to deer collisions in 2022.
KYTC offers these driving tips:
- Slow down immediately upon spotting a deer crossing the roadway; they tend to travel in groups.
- Don’t swerve to avoid a deer, which can result in a more serious crash with an oncoming vehicle or roadside object.
- In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and apply brakes steadily until stopped.
- Always wear a seat belt.
- Keep headlights on bright at night unless other vehicles are approaching.
- Eliminate distractions while driving: Phones down!
- Drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active.