PESTS & WILDLIFE — Use Caution to Avoid Deer-Vehicle Collisions


By Nebraska Game and Parks, Deer-Vehicle Collision Information Kit

Deer become more active in the fall and because of it, drivers should be more alert than ever when out on the road.

Deer pose a potentially dangerous threat to themselves and the occupants of vehicles traveling Nebraska’s highways and country roads, especially during mid-late fall.

As the harvest begins, crop and cover patterns will change quickly and daylight hours will become shorter. As the deer breeding season approaches, deer will have a lot of things to distract them. Deer activity increases and movement peaks each day near dawn and just after dusk. Here are some things drivers can do to try to avoid deer-vehicle accidents:

• When driving near shelterbelts, woodlots, creeks or where crops are still standing, especially during evening or early morning, reduce your speed and watch for deer.

• When you spot a deer, assume there will be others in the same area, either ahead of or behind the one you have seen.

• Be prepared to stop suddenly.

• Many places where deer are known to travel are posted with deer crossing signs, but the absence of a sign does not mean a deer will not unexpectedly appear.

• Deer often seem to be disoriented or confused by headlights. Some react by freezing in the light, some dart into the path of the vehicle, others bolt away in the opposite direction. Sometimes deer that have just crossed the road ahead of the vehicle suddenly change direction and run back into the path of a vehicle or collide
with it.

• Honk your horn and flash your headlights to frighten deer away from the side of the road. If there is other traffic on the road, you can activate your emergency flashers and tap your brakes to alert other drivers to the potential danger.

• Anticipate the possibility of a deer unexpectedly crossing in front of you and plan ahead to avoid swerving, turning or braking the vehicle too sharply if a deer suddenly appears.

If a deer is struck and the driver wants to salvage it, the driver may possess the deer but must contact a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission conservation officer within 24 hours to obtain a salvage tag.

• Be alert for deer at all times, especially during dusk and dawn and especially when driving near shelterbelts, woodlots, creeks or where crops still are standing.
• Reduce your speed at night and be prepared to stop suddenly.
• If you see one deer, expect to see others.
• Stay on the road and strike the animal; do not swerve or leave the roadway and collide with a roadside object and do not cross the centerline.
• Expect more deer near deer crossing signs because they should be installed where this is true.
• Honk your horn or flash your headlights to frighten the deer away.
• Search and scan the roadway and roadside ahead.
• Keep your windshield clean.
• Buckle your seatbelt.
• Stay sober.
• Keep your headlights properly adjusted.
• Use your high beams where possible.