If I were to ask you to name a deadly North American animal, other than human, what comes to mind?
How about deer?
Four people died in Illinois vehicle crashes involving deer last year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Another 608 people were injured. And that was out of a total of more than 15,000 car vs. deer collisions.
The average amount of property damage in these collisions is more than $3,000, according to State Farm.
We are headed into the prime season for car-deer collisions. According to data from State Farm, about 18 percent of car-deer collisions nationwide take place during the month of November. October is the second-worst month for the collisions, and December is third. The insurer calculates the odds of an Illinois driver striking a deer as about one in 214.
Fall is the deer rutting season, when deer are mating and are both more active and more reckless than at other times of year. Making things even more complicated, they tend to be most active at dusk and dawn, when changing light may make it difficult to see in the first place.
Here are some tips from State Farm on avoiding deer collisions:
• Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
• Use high-beam headlights as much as possible to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways. A green glint of light reflecting off a deer’s eyes may be your only warning they are near the road.
• Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds. If you see one, there’s a good chance others are nearby.
• Don’t rely on car-mounted deer whistles.
• Be aware of deer crossing signs. No, the deer don’t always cross there, but they’re posted in areas with a lot of deer activity.
Personally, I would also add that you shouldn’t let your guard down when driving in town. Yes, you’re probably more likely to see deer along country roads, but a few years back Hillcrest Drive in DeKalb was a part of my commute, and I routinely saw deer between Sycamore Road and First Street. I even had a near miss when one bounded across the street in front of my car.
Yes, it was in the fall.
Drive safely, and enjoy your MidWeek.
The story “Let’s go to the movies,” on page 6 of the Oct. 9 MidWeek, contained an error. All of the films shown at the 2013 Sycamore Film Festival were new to the festival; the filmmakers were past award winners. The MidWeek regrets the error.