A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Tommy Turner: With deer season upon us, we must remain extra vigilant when traveling state’s roadways

Deer season is upon us and that means Kentucky drivers must be particularly aware of their surroundings while traveling along Kentucky’s streets and highways. As an avid outdoorsman, I know how critical it is to pay attention to deer crossing the road during this time of year.

The deer population, in general, has been growing all over the country for years. Urban expansion, more people moving to rural areas and more cars on the road result in an increase in dangerous car collisions with deer. In fact, deer-related automobile accidents cause approximately 150 deaths every single year, claiming more lives in the United States than encounters with any other animal.

The combination of the fall harvest, cooler temperatures and mating season result in deer becoming more mobile than at any other time of the year. Deer movement increases substantially between October and December, when 47 percent of all collisions involving deer occur, according to the Kentucky State Police. Last year, there were 3,283 reported automobile accidents involving deer, with the November peak of the rut being the most dangerous, by far.

Drivers need to be especially alert in the early morning and early evening hours, when deer are the most active. Fifty-three percent of collisions occur between the hours of 5 a.m.-8 a.m. and 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

A few tips to avoid a collision include using high-beam headlights when possible and being extra cautious when driving through a known deer crossing zone, which may be indicated by a yellow road sign. If a deer passes in front of your vehicle, slow down and look to see if another deer is following close behind. Deer are known to travel in groups and, during the rut, a doe running across the road will typically have a buck chasing her.

Officials advise that should you encounter a deer on the road, avoid swerving. Drivers should stay straight, keep both hands on the steering wheel and apply their brakes.

Should you be unable to avoid hitting a deer, do not attempt to approach or move the animal. Instead, move your vehicle out of the roadway and call the police for assistance.

As Chair of the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee, I remind you to keep your eye out for deer this fall while enjoying all the beautiful scenery Kentucky has to offer.

Rep. Tommy Turner, R-Somerset, represents parts of Laurel and Pulaski Counties. He is Chair of the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee and serves on the House Agriculture Committee. He is also a member of the Kentucky Sportsmen’s Caucus.

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