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Don't bag a deer this fall with your car

 

Fall in Indiana can be beautiful, as the days become crisp and the trees display their bright colors under strikingly blue skies. As you drive along country roads, you may be temporarily distracted by the attractive scene presented by the fall colors. But don't become too focused on those trees as you drive, as there is another risk lurking along the fields and tree lined roads throughout the state.

Fall also marks the time of year when the risk of a deer-vehicle collision becomes greatest. As deer become active during mating season and are driven from agricultural fields by harvest, you may see them along the road. The last three months of the year sees the most crashes between car and deer and drivers need to be extra cautious and pay special attention when they observe deer foraging near roads and highways.

 

Deer tend to be most active at dawn and dusk and with the shortening of the days, that period of time coincides with many driver's commute times, increasing the risk and exposure to potential deer strikes.

Should a deer dart unexpectedly in front of your vehicle, you need to react properly to minimize the danger to yourself and other motorists. While your instinct may be to veer sharply around the deer or engage in other evasive actions, a conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources advises against this behavior.

It can cause a loss of control of the vehicle by the driver, often sending the car into the path of oncoming traffic or hurtling off the road into dangerous objects like a tree or a utility pole. As unpleasant as it sounds, it is safer to hit the deer. While it may damage your vehicle and kill the deer, it is still safer than crashing into a tree at highway speeds.

Source: southbendtribune.com, "Car-deer accidents on the rise in Indiana," Stan Maddux, October 7, 2015

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