Iowa Department of Transportation warns drivers to watch out for more deer crossing the roads
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Deer mating season is underway, which means more deer will be crossing roadways.
The Iowa Department of Transportation is urging drivers to use caution and be on the lookout for multiple scenarios of fast-moving, unpredictable deer crossing highways.
In 2022, more than 7,000 crashes happened between vehicles and animals on Iowa roads. Of those, five people were killed, 44 people suffered serious injuries and more than 300 more were listed on crash reports as having minor or possible injuries, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.
In Illinois, there were more than 14,000 crashes involving deer in 2022, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported.
Of those, 13,892 resulted in damage to property or vehicles and 629 caused injuries. Four of the crashes were fatal.
Iowa State Patrol Trooper Luke Hank said during mating season, deer will be out no matter what time of day it is and they are not just in rural areas.
“They can be in... the neighborhoods as well,” he said. “It’s not uncommon, even in the Davenport-Bettendorf area and higher populated areas too. They are pretty much everywhere this time of year.”
Hank said if you see a deer running across the road, try and stop because there could be more following.
“We just get fixated on that first one, that’s where a lot of times we might see a deer and they’ll strike the side of our vehicles, the motorist vehicles you know, they might strike the side of it cause we’re watching that first one that went by and here comes one or two three more from the side and they will run into the side of our vehicles,” he said.
To avoid crashing into a deer, both Iowa and Illinois state law enforcement say to be aware of your surroundings. Law enforcement also says to do the following to avoid crashing into deer:
• Scan the sides of the road for eye shine, meaning the reflection of headlights in their eyes.
• Slow down if you see a deer and anticipate others could be following.
• Prepare for the unexpected. Deer may stop in the middle of the road and not move for oncoming vehicles.
If you can’t avoid a crash, police say to hit the deer and not veer.
“You don’t want to turn to your left, you will come into oncoming traffic, which is way worse,” Hank said. “You don’t necessarily want to go to your right because then you’re entering the median with a ditch, then you have other objects like that there, that a possibility of rolling or otherwise losing control there.”
Law enforcement said to pull off to the shoulder and call 911 to report the accident and not exit the vehicle to check on the deer or pull it from the road.
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