Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Public Affairs Branch (502) 782-1780
KSP Offers Driving Tips For Deer Hunting Season
Date of News Release: 10/18/2006
(FRANKFORT, KY) -Deer hunting season, which generally runs from October through December, brings a dramatic increase in the movement of wildlife throughout the state. As a result, motorists are more likely to encounter deer on or near roadways and should be alert to avoid collisions, warn officials with the Kentucky State Police (KSP).
Vehicle crashes involving deer on roads nationwide each year kill nearly 150 people, injure tens of thousands and cause over $1 billion in vehicle damage, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The average deer/automobile collision results in approximately $2,600 per claim for repairs and injuries.
While the percentage of deer collisions resulting in a fatality is relatively low in Kentucky as compared to the nation, it is extremely important to recognize this ever-present risk, especially at this time of year when nearly 50 percent of all collisions with deer occur.
"Since 2001 there has been a slight downward trend in collisions between deer and automobiles in Kentucky," said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Jack Adams, "but last year there was one person killed and over 200 were injured. I want to encourage motorists to drive defensively and be on the lookout for deer on or near roads in both rural and urban areas."
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Jack Adams suggests that motorists follow these defensive driving tips to help avoid hitting a deer:
- Be extra cautious in the early morning and evening hours. Deer are most active during these low-light periods when humans see worst and reaction time is slow.
- Stay alert when driving through a known deer-crossing zone. If you see one deer, look for more. They often travel in herds.
- Drive at a moderate speed, especially on roads bordering woodlands, parklands, golf courses and streams. However, remember that many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities.
- Use high beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will reflect in the eyes of deer on or near the roadway, providing increased driver reaction time.
- Upon seeing a deer, immediately slow down. Do not swerve---this could confuse the deer about where to run. It could also cause you to lose control of your vehicle. It is generally safer to hit the deer than leave your lane, risking injury to passengers and other motorists.
- Deer are often unpredictable, especially when faced with blinding headlights, loud horns and fast-moving vehicles. Don't expect them to stay where they are. They can dart in front of you at the last moment, stop in the middle of the road, cross quickly and return to the road or even move toward an approaching vehicle.
- Deer whistles on cars provide little help and blowing the car horn doesn't always solve the problem. Blowing the horn may cause them to move, but not necessarily in the direction you want.
- Always wear your safety belt. Historically, most people injured or killed in deer/auto collisions were not properly restrained.
For more information on deer hazards, including maps of deer collisions by county, visit the Kentucky State Police website at www.kentuckystatepolice.org/deerauto.com.