COLUMBUS — Oh, deer. It’s that time of year again.
Agencies ranging from the Ohio Department of Insurance and Ohio State Highway Patrol to the AAA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources remind motorists that deer-related traffic crashes annually increase around this time of year.
According to the state patrol, in 2019 there were 19,375 deer-related crashes on Ohio roadways. Four motorists died 966 people were injured in those accidents. Some of the top counties for deer-related crashes include Stark, Richland, Lorain, Trumbull and Hancock, with U.S. 30, I-71 and I-80 being the leading roadways in the state for such accidents.
According to the ODNR, deer become more active during the fall breeding season, which occurs from late October through November. The need to breed can result in pursuits where deer will dart into roadways with little caution, which in turn can lead to an increase in deer-related vehicle accidents.
Drivers are encouraged to be extra cautious in areas where habitat features (fencerows, riparian corridors or other blocks of forested habitat) intersect a roadway. Deer and other wildlife use these corridors and patches to traverse the landscape.
“Deer increase their daily movements in the fall months, but they are incredibly unpredictable,” ODNR wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said. “The best advice to keep everyone safe is to stay alert and remember — deer rarely run alone.”
Colliding with a deer is not only dangerous, it’s also very costly. Recent data from the AAA estimates the average insurance claim for a deer-vehicle collision in Ohio is nearly $4,000.
To avoid deer-vehicle collisions, motorists are urged to scan the road ahead and use high beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic. Dusk and dawn are the times when deer tend to be most active.
If you hit a deer:
• Call the police.
• Avoid making contact with the animal. A frightened and wounded animal can be dangerous and pose a threat when approached or might further injure itself.
• Activate the vehicle’s hazard lights whether it’s light or dark outside.
• If possible, move the vehicle to a safe location out of the roadway and wait for help to arrive.
• Drivers should contact their insurance agent or company representative as quickly as possible to report any vehicle damage.
Motorists are also reminded they can dial #677 from their mobile device to be connected to the nearest Ohio State Highway Patrol post.