Wildlife

What to watch for and how to avoid a collision

Deer account for several thousand car crashes every year. It's easy to forget that these beautiful four-legged friends can cause so much damage to a car, and injuries and even death to someone in the car. While deer crashes occur year-round, November has the highest number of crashes. They happen most often between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., and again in the evening from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.


Follow these tips for driving when wildlife is present:

Deer Sign
Always wear a seat belt when driving, whether on highways or rural roads. It is your greatest protection in an impact-related crash
Use high beam headlights when you are able so you can see deer better.
Scan the ditches while you are driving. Slow down if you notice an animal's eyes in your line of vision.
Slow down and blow the horn with one long blast to scare deer away.
Brake firmly when a deer is spotted. Do not swerve because you are more likely to overcorrect and go into the ditch.
Be mindful of deer crossing zones.
Be alert in natural cover areas. Deer will often be found by streams, sloughs, rivers, and shelterbelts that are near roadways.
Look for other deer if one crosses the road. They seldom run alone.

If you hit a deer, you are no longer required to report the crash to law enforcement unless an occupant in the vehicle has a physical injury or there is a fatality. Remove the deer to the side of the roadway if it is safe and you are able. If you are unable to do so, you may contact your North Dakota Department of Transportation district office or North Dakota State Radio at 800-472-2121 so they can make arrangements to remove the deer.


Source: Issue Brief February 2008 Rural Transportation Safety and Security Center - Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute