MANCHESTER — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is joining area law enforcement agencies to remind motorists that the number of deer-vehicle crashes increase substantially during the last three months of the year.
“Nearly half of all yearly deer-automobile accidents occur in the upcoming three month period – October, November and December. Keep yourself and your family safe this beautiful fall season. As you are paying attention to your driving, stay alert to signs of deer adjacent to the roadway. The district hopes you and your family avoid danger or injury as a result of wildlife activity,” said Sherri Chappell, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways District 11, which includes Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie and Whitley counties.
Multiple factors contribute to deer-related crashes this time of year:
• Mating season puts deer on the move;
• Crop harvest reduces food supply and hiding places;
• More farmers, hunters, and hikers are in the countryside coming into contact with deer and causing them to move about;
• Deer tend to move at dawn and dusk when visibility is low.
Motorists should consider these driving tips to help ensure their personal safety:
• Always wear a seatbelt;
• Drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside (especially at dusk);
• Slow down immediately when you spot a deer. Proceed slowly until you are past the point where deer have crossed;
• Don’t swerve to avoid a deer. Stay in your lane. Swerving can result in a more serious crash with oncoming traffic;
• In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and brake down steadily;
• Report any deer crash, even if the damage is minor.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 150 people are killed nationwide each year in motor vehicle crashes involving deer. In 2014, police agencies in Kentucky reported 3,108 deer-related crashes along with three reported driver fatalities.
District 11’s county by county report on deer-related crashes: Harlan County, 15; Bell County, 11; Knox County, 12; Leslie County, 1; Laurel County, 24; Whitley County, 12; Clay County, 9; Jackson County, 6.