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Increased deer activity requries slowing down

The WisDOT and its Division of State Patrol, reminds motorists to be especially alert for the potential of deer darting across roadways over the next several weeks. Deer/vehicle crashes typically peak during the October and November “rutting” period, when bucks pursue potential mates.

“Motorists can protect themselves and minimize the chances of hitting a deer, by buckling up, slowing down and scanning the road ahead carefully,” said David Pabst, director of the WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. “Deer can be seen any time of day, but are especially active around dusk and dawn.”

Last year in Wisconsin, law enforcement agencies reported 20,177 deer/vehicle crashes, that resulted in injuries to 515 motorists and four fatalities (all four were motorcyclists). Counties with higher traffic volumes and significant deer populations see the most crashes.

The WisDOT offers the following tips to avoid deer crashes and motorist injuries:

• Slow down, eliminate distractions and make sure all vehicle occupants are buckled up.

• If a deer crosses in front of the car, watch for more. One long blast from a vehicle’s horn may frighten the deer away.

• If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, brake firmly and stay in the same lane. Avoid sudden swerving, which can result in a loss of vehicle control and a more serious crash.

If a deer is hit:

• Get the vehicle safely off the road, if possible, and call law enforcement. Be prepared to describe the specific location.

• It’s generally safest to stay buckled up inside the vehicle. Walking along a highway is always dangerous, as a person could be struck by another vehicle.

• Don’t attempt to move an injured deer.

The increase in deer activity this time of year, also results in more car-killed-deer along Wisconsin roadways. The WisDOT works with private vendors, county highway departments and law enforcement, to manage deer carcass removal.

To report car-killed-deer:

• Deer carcasses on the active, traveled portion of a highway, represent an urgent safety hazard and should be reported by calling 911.

• If the carcass is off the traveled portion of the roadway, contact the appropriate county sheriff’s department, using the agency’s non-emergency phone number;

• Reporting the specific location of a carcass is essential to facilitate removal. Citizens should find a safe time and location to call. Be prepared to provide details such as the specific highway, direction of travel, mile post, nearest intersecting highway, exit or mailbox number.

State law requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching stopped emergency responders, tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles – including crews removing deer carcasses.

More information on the Car-Killed-Deer program can be found on the WisDOT website.