Palos Park police are reminding drivers to beware of deer bounding across forest preserve roads, especially after dark. Fall is prime rutting or mating season for deer, so if you see a stag or doe stumbling out of the woods smoking a cigarette, you’ll know why.
Police Commissioner Dan Polk said approximately 1.6 million motor vehicle crashes are caused by deer each year and spike from October through December due to deer mating season, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Polk also noted that these collisions make up over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage per year, with each incident averaging $3,000 worth of damage, based on statistics from the III.
Police offer these tips to avoid hitting deer, especially at peak mating season:
- Obey the speed limit when driving on forest preserve roads, especially from sunset to midnight, and at dawn, when deer are most active.
- Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you. Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if a deer is spotted. Also, remember deer often move in groups, so when there is one deer, there are usually more in the area.
- Use high beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic. Deer may be spotted sooner when using high beams allowing time to slow down, move over or beep tour horn in short bursts to scare the deer away from the road.
- If a collision is unavoidable, press the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Swerving to avoid a deer can often cause a more serious crash or result in drivers losing control of vehicles.
- Most damage from deer collisions occur in the front or on the side of a car. If involved in a crash, call local law enforcement for assistance and then make note of the date, time, street name and take any pictures to help document the incident. Shine your headlights as closely as you can on the animal so that other drivers can avoid hitting it.
- If you do hit a deer, don’t go near it, unless you’re absolutely sure it’s dead; an injured deer could gore or kick you from pain.
- Drivers should always wear a seat belt and should remain awake, alert and sober.
Source: Palos Park Police Department