Be on the lookout for deer on the roadways
County law enforcement is reminding drivers to use caution and be alert for deer on the roadways.
Just this past week, Marshall County sheriff’s deputies responded to four crashes with deer within a 60-minute time period. According to Iowa Department of Transportation crash statistics — October, November and December are the peak months for motor vehicle crashes with deer. Fall is the start of the mating season for deer which causes them to be on the move. Farmers are also working to complete the harvest of crops which also contributes to the extra movement of the deer.
According to IDOT statistics there were 7,186 animal-related crashes in 2016 in Iowa. Those crashes resulted in three deaths, 24 major injuries, 117 minor injuries, and more than $30 million in property damage. In 2016, Marshall County saw 141 crashes with three minor injuries and $526,400 in property damage.
Sgt. Ben Veren with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office said there are several tips drivers should be aware of to avoid crashes with animals:
• Be especially alert at dusk and dawn, since these are the times of day deer are most active;
• Avoid distractions in the vehicle that reduce ability to see or react to animals near the roadway; and
• If you see one deer, assume there are others nearby.
There are a large number of crashes reported each year where drivers swerved to avoid an animal in the roadway. These crashes tend to be more severe and are more likely to result in injury. If drivers encounter an animal in the roadway, it is best to brake and continue traveling straight in your lane on the roadway. Veren said hitting an animal in the roadway is often times better than the other possible outcomes. If a vehicle swerves and leaves the roadway, there is a likelihood of a rollover crash or striking fixed objects such as utility poles, embankments, bridges, or culverts.
Veren added that if a driver is involved in a crash with a deer, they should move the vehicle off the traveled portion of the roadway if possible and turn on their emergency flashers and contact law enforcement.
For more information or questions, email Veren at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (641) 754-6380.