News Release

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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

KSP Warns Motorists of Deer Hunting Season Driving Hazards

Deer Crossing Sign(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - Motorists traveling Kentucky's roadways from mid-October through mid-January should be extra cautious to avoid danger from an unexpected source: deer.

This period coincides with mating season for the animals and overlaps with deer hunting season, causing increased movement throughout the state. As a result, motorists are more likely to encounter deer on or near roadways and should be alert to avoid collisions.

An image of a deer Safety Tip:
Be vigilant in looking for other deer when you see one.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, car accidents involving deer on roads kill nearly 100 people nationwide each year and cost millions of dollars in insurance claims.

Safety Tip:
Be extra cautious in the early morning and evening hours. 
Deer are most active during these low-light periods, which also happen to be when humans see less and react slower.
Deer in the headlights

The average deer/automobile collision results in approximately $2,000 per claim for repairs and injuries. In 2003, drivers are expected to hit 1.8 million deer nationwide.

In 2002 there were 3,300 deer/auto collisions in Kentucky, resulting in 194 people injured. Three fatalities were reported.

An image of a small deer Safety Tip:
Don't expect deer to remain in place.  They can dart in front of you at the last moment

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.

Defensive driving tips for motorists to help avoid hitting a deer include:

  • 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.
  • Use high beam headlights whenever possible.
  • 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 and hit a tree or another car.
  • If you see one deer, look for more. They often travel in herds.
  • Don't expect deer to stay where they are. They can dart in front of you at the last moment.
  • Deer whistles on cars provide little help and blowing the car horn doesn't always solve the problem. 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.

"When it comes to deer, whether you're traveling on rural roads or urban highways, anything is possible," notes KSP Commissioner Patrick Simpson. "Their numbers are increasing and they are being seen more frequently in populated areas. The best advice is to stay alert and slow down."

For more information on deer hazards, including maps of deer collisions by county, click here.

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