Department of Highways, District 10
Motorists advised to look out for deer
JACKSON, Ky. — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is reminding motorists that deer become a greater roadway hazard this time of year as mating season arrives. Each year the mating season, which lasts from October through December, accounts for a spike in deer-related crashes in the commonwealth.
There were 2,926 deer-related crashes reported in Kentucky in 2008, leading to two fatalities and 178 injuries. This year, 1,509 deer-related crashed have been reported thus far, resulting in 105 injuries and no deaths. Nationally, about 150 people die each year in motor vehicle accidents involving deer.
“Many times these accidents are unavoidable, but motorists can reduce the risk by taking extra time to drive carefully and staying alert – especially during dawn and dusk when visibility is lower and when deer tend to be on the move,” said Mark A. Westfall, chief engineer for District 10 of the Department of Highways, based in Jackson.
Highway officials attribute the increase of deer-related crashes to multiple factors:
· Mating season puts deer on the move.
· Farmers are harvesting crops, reducing food supply and potential hiding places.
· There is an increase in hunters and hikers in the woods.
· Deer tend to move at daylight and dusk when visibility is at its poorest for motorists.
While deer tend to cross highways along regular trails most of the year, they can show up in towns, subdivisions and other unexpected places during the fall rut. The Insurance Information Institute offers several defensive driving tips to help avoid striking a deer:
· Be attentive from sunset to midnight and around sunrise.
· Watch out at deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population, and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland.
· Use high beam headlights to better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
· Slow down and blow the horn with one long blast to drive deer away.
· Brake firmly if a deer is in the road, but stay in the lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
· Always wear a seat belt. Most people killed in deer-related crashes were not buckled.
Among the roads where a high rate of deer-related collisions in the 10-county District 10 area have been noted are the Mountain Parkway (Powell, Wolfe, Morgan and Magoffin), Hal Rogers Parkway (Perry), KY 80 (Perry), KY 15 (Perry), US 460 (Menifee, Morgan and Magoffin), KY 7 (Morgan), KY 52 (Estill, Lee), KY 11 (Lee, Owsley), KY 205 (Breathitt, Wolfe and Morgan), KY 1274 (Menifee), KY 28 (Owsley) and KY 89 (Estill).
In general, drivers should be on the lookout for deer in areas where prior crashes have occurred, where “Deer Crossing” signs have been erected, or on high-speed roadways.
Visit the Transportation Cabinet online at www.transportation.ky.gov.