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ODOT Issues Warning To Drivers: Be On The Lookout For Deer

Recently Reduced Crash Numbers Should Not Give Drives a False Sense of Security 

COLUMBUS (September 29, 2008) – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) says the Autumn season often brings the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes, and drivers need to stay alert and watch for deer-crossing warning signs to stay safe.

In 2007, there were a total of 26,304 deer-vehicle crashes, including 11 fatalities and 1,166 people injured. These numbers are down from the previous year. However, many deer-vehicle collisions go unreported to authorities, so the actual number of crashes throughout Ohio may be as high as 60,000 crashes each year.

From October to December, the number of deer-vehicle crashes spikes to as many as 4,200 incidents per month. The average number of crashes is less than half that number, or 1,500 crashes each month from January to September.

Ohio has eight million drivers, 121,000 miles of roadway and 600,000 deer. Trying to predict when and where a deer and motorist will meet is an impossible task. But drivers who understand how deer behave are more likely to avoid a crash.

ODOT advises motorists to use these driving tips to help avoid a collision with a deer: 

  • Watch for deer-crossing signs and drive with extreme caution especially in areas where those signs are posted. 
  • If you see a deer near the road, expect other deer will follow. 
  • The times when deer are most likely to be on the road are dawn when 20 percent of most crashes occur and between 5 p.m. and midnight when 50 percent of the collisions occur. 
  • After dark, use high-beams when there isn’t oncoming traffic. This will illuminate deer eyes, allowing more time for the driver to react. 
  • Always wear safety belts, and drive at safe, sensible speeds for road conditions.

Deer make up the bulk of the 530,000 animal-related auto accidents reported in the United States annually, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute.

For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Communications, at (614) 644-8640
or your local ODOT District Communications Office.