EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.— The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) encouraged drivers to be aware of deer this time of year. They are also telling drivers to “resist the urge to swerve.”
“Deer often travel in groups, so if a deer crosses the road ahead of you, there is a good possibility that another will follow,” said Omer Osman, Illinois Transportation Secretary, in a press release. “Always be prepared for the unexpected. A deer might stop in the middle of the road or double back. Don’t veer for deer – it could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and swerve into another lane or off the road.”
Deer mating season has arrived. Deer become more active, mainly at dawn and dusk, from October through December.
“We’ve been in business for 38 years. I’ve seen a lot of deer hits,” said John Romann, owner of The Auto Body Shop in Glen Carbon. “I’ve seen them total cars out. I’ve seen them do minor damage. You know, it really varies.”
These are the top 10 deer collisions for Illinois counties in 2021. Madison County is near the top of the list.
1. Cook 493
2. Madison 452
3. Will 326
4. Sangamon 321
5. Peoria 311
6. Kane 299
7. Effingham 294
8. Fulton 289
9. McHenry 264
10. Jefferson 256
In 2021, the agencies reported 14,522 motor vehicle crashes involving deer in Illinois, with 13,936 resulting in damage to property or vehicles. There were two fatalities reported, along with 584 personal injuries.
IDNR and IDOT offer this advice:
• Be aware of your surroundings, especially in areas with deer crossing signs.
• Scan the sides of the road for eye shine – the reflection of headlights in their eyes.
• Slow down if you see a deer. They travel in groups, so more are likely nearby.
• Prepare for the unexpected. Deer may stop in the middle of the road.
• If a collision is inevitable, don’t veer. Try to glance your vehicle off the deer and avoid swerving into the opposite lanes of traffic or off the road.
“Whether in rural or urban areas, deer are part of the Illinois landscape, and we need to be alert to their presence,” said Colleen Callahan, director of IDNR. “Please be cautious while on the road as deer are particularly active during the mating season in the fall and during busy driving times around dawn and dusk.”
If you hit a deer, pull off to the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights, and call 911 to report the accident. Do not exit the vehicle to check on an injured deer or pull it from the road.