Ohio approaching peak season for deer-related crashes

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ohio officials are reminding motorists to watch out as the state heads into the peek time for deer-related crashes.

Since 2016, there have been 100,672 deer-related crashes in Ohio, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Though 95% only resulted in property damage, 27 of those crashes resulted in 28 deaths. About half of deer-related crashes took place in October, November and December.

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“As we enter the peak season for car-deer collisions in Ohio, I encourage drivers to use extra caution and slow down, especially at dawn or dusk when deer are more active,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “A crash with a deer can be just as destructive as a crash with another vehicle, so it’s important that drivers remember to stay alert and watch out for animals crossing the road.”

From 2016 through Sept. 20, local counties have recorded the following number of deer-related crashes, according to OSHP:

  • Butler County: 1,362
  • Champaign County: 267
  • Clark County: 1,151
  • Darke County: 1,195
  • Greene County: 1,688
  • Miami County: 1,540
  • Montgomery County: 1,129
  • Logan County: 653
  • Preble County: 732
  • Warren County: 1,617
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So far this year, there have been 9,341 deer collisions in Ohio, according to OSHP.

Deer become more active from late October through November due to the fall breeding season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Motorists are advised to be extra cautious in areas where fencerows, riparian corridors or other forested habitats are near the road.

“Always avoid distractions and keep your full focus on the roadway,” said Col. Richard Fambro of the OSHP. “If you see a deer slow down, but do not swerve. If you strike a deer, move to a safe place if you are able, turn on your hazard lights and report the crash.”

ODNR wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker reminded motorists that deer rarely run alone.

“If you see one deer, be on the lookout for others nearby,” she said.

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The OSHP offered the following tips to avoid deer collisions:

  • Scan the road ahead to help give you enough reaction time if needed. Remember some animals, including deer, move in groups. So if there is one, there are probably more in the area.
  • Use high beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic to help spot deer or other wildlife more quickly. High beams also help spot animals’ reflective eyes.
  • Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk when deer tend to be more active.
  • If a collision is unavoidable, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Swerving can result in a more serious crash or cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you swerve to miss a deer and hit something else you could be charged for an at-fault crash.
  • Wear a seat belt and stay awake, alert and sober. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are higher if you don’t wear a seat belt.