Roadside Chat - Oh dear, don't veer for deer

11-5 oh dearThis is a big week for deer in Iowa. Historically, the first week of November is when we record the highest number of crashes between vehicles and deer. With farmers getting the crops out of the field, whitetail deer are being roused from their hiding places. It’s also mating season, also referred to as the rut, the time when deer, especially males, are less cautious and more active than usual.   

From Jan. 1 to Nov. 5, 2021, there were 5,187 reported crashes where a driver hit an animal. Those crashes impacted 7,696 drivers and passengers. Four people have been killed and 31 suffered serious injuries in these crashes.

To help you stay safe remain alert, drive sober, slow down, and continuously scan your surroundings for any animals in your path before you get too close. If you see a deer crossing sign, take note. It was put there because past data has shown deer activity in that area.

If a deer or other animal ends up in the road ahead of you, don’t veer to avoid hitting it.

  • Hold on to the steering wheel.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Don’t swerve. Swerving may send your vehicle into oncoming traffic or cause you to crash in the ditch.
  • Brake firmly.
  • Bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.

If you collide with the animal:

  • Pull off the road. Turn on your emergency flashers and be cautious of other traffic.
  • Stay in your vehicle and call 911 for assistance.

Attempting to remove a deer or other animal from the roadway can be very dangerous. Leave the removal to the professional responders. Deer crossing signs are a good indication of past deer activity in an area -

In 2021, there have been 291 deaths in traffic crashes. That is an increase of six since last Friday. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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