Driving Safely During Deer Season

A report by State Farm estimates Minnesota drivers will hit more than 42,000 deer this year alone.

The fall and winter bring many great things, cooler temperatures, fewer bugs, even snow, if you see that as a positive.

But it comes with lively deer, and that can be hazardous to drivers.

There are a number of reasons why the fall sees an increase in deer crashes.

“Oftentimes during the spring and summer months deer will feed on crops like these and hide in the cover of the tall fields, but now that many of the fields are barren deer are forced out of their hiding spots to go look for different food sources, driving them on to the highways,” says Sgt. Jesse Grabow with the Minnesota State Patrol.

The best way to reduce your chance of being hurt if you hit a deer is to follow the old rule, don’t veer for deer.

“Just because a lot of times when you try to avoid a deer at higher speeds you have a greater potential of losing control of your vehicle, going into oncoming traffic or running off the road,” says Sgt. Grabow.

This rule potentially saved the lives of Judy Hamre and her children when they collided with a deer a few years ago.

“Totally scary, didn’t swerve, hit the breaks but hit it anyway. It took out my head light. Yeah I think if I swerved I would have probably tipped over or went in the ditch or something,” says Hamre.

That encounter taught her a valuable lesson.

“What I learned was for the rest of my days, still when you’re driving at night especially if you know it’s a deer area just always watching, watching, watching, ” says Hamre.

Deer tend to be out more during the early morning and evening hours so when driving at those times, it’s important to be extra aware.

“You should scan the roadways looking for their eyes, they might be shining off the head lights. Use the high beams when you can that helps pick them up too. Pay attention to those silhouettes any of those little things can make a big difference,” says says Sgt. Grabow.

Deer collisions can’t always be avoided but being aware and remembering the golden rule may help save your life.

To view the Minnesota State Patrol’s detailed list of advice for being safe when encountering deer on the roadways click this link.