The start of harvest season means it is time for drivers to be extra cautious and watch for deer crossing the road.
Hunting season begins soon as does mating season for deer populations. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is warning drivers to keep an eye out as deer activity increases this time of year.
IDNR Spokesperson Rachel Torbert warns drivers should be extra careful during dawn and dusk hours.
“Make sure you are looking and scanning the sides of the road. Like any other animal, when deer are moving you can see the reflection in their eyes, and that will help you spot them. If you do see a deer, make sure you slow down because they travel in groups so if one crosses the road there may be two or three behind him or her. If you are out on the road during those dusk and dawn hours when it is a little more difficult to see, make sure you are aware of your surroundings because deer are more actively moving during these times. And if you see those deer crossing signs, that is an area where deer frequently cross the road so make sure you are being very aware in those areas.”
If an accident does occur, drivers and passengers should not attempt to remove dead or injured deer from busy roads. Instead, they should contact local law enforcement for help.
Illinois law requires drivers to report to police any deer-related accident that has more than $1,500 in damage.
State Farm reported that Illinois ranked 32nd in the nation for deer-vehicle accidents in 2017. A driver in the state had a 1-in-200 chance of having a collision, a drop of 1.9 percent over 2016, according to a report from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
Last year there were more than 15 thousand collisions between cars and deer reported in the state, with 630 people suffering personal injuries and eight deaths reported from deer vs. car accidents.