The Tennessee Highway Patrol is warning drivers to watch out for deer as we move into October.
An increase in deer-related crashes is likely as we move into deer mating and hunting season, which runs through December.
In Tennessee, between 2011 and 2015, 22 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. In 2015, there were 6,953 deer-related crashes, including 351 that involved injuries and 0 that were fatal. That was up by 8.15 percent from 6,429 the previous year. However, since 2011, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have increased 22.04 percent.
They offer these tips to avoid crashes:
- Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.
- Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
- Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.
- Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run.
- When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly until you pass that point.
- If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.
- In the event of a deer crash, move the vehicle as far off the road as possible, and dial *THP (*847) from an available cell phone for assistance. The call will be connected to the nearest THP Communications Center and a State Trooper will be dispatched to the location.
Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office and report the accident within 48 hours.