SHELBY COUNTY — As of late last week, the Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol has assisted in 27 deer strikes within Shelby County. Half of those have taken place along Interstate 75, said Sgt. Paul Reed.
In 2014, state troopers dealt with 37 deer strikes within Shelby County.
With the fall season being the peak time for deer to be more active, drivers are being asked to take precautions, Reed said. The month of November can be especially costly to drivers, since it is the height of deer-mating season.
“Farmers are in the fields and those are the places to be extra careful,” Reed said. “Deer are typically moving from food to water or water to food. Drivers should especially watch out at bridges and culverts.”
According to information released by the AAA and the Insurance Information Institute, more than 1 million deer are hit by vehicles across the United States each year. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety in 2014, there were 19,705 deer strikes in Ohio and 48 percent of those crashes took place during the months of October, November and December.
Reed suggests one point area drivers need to observe are the deer-crossing signs placed around rural areas.
“ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) has taken the time to put signs where deer are most likely to be found. Drivers should pay attention to those signs,” Reed said.
The times of the day to be extra careful are dusk and dawn. “Deer don’t know what day of the week it is, but they do know dusk and dawn,” Reed said.
According to the ODOT website, Ohio saw more than 20,000 deer strikes across the state in 2012 — resulting in six fatalities and 1,013 injuries. An untold number of additional deer-vehicle crashes go unreported to law enforcement.
“Fewer daylight hours, the increased movement of deer due to mating season, along with hunting season, can mean a greater risk of collisions between deer and vehicles,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.
ODOT also gives this advice: Deer Don’t Roam Alone: Deer often run together. If you see one deer near or crossing the road, expect others to follow.
The AAA offers the following tips in avoiding collision with deer:
• Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you. Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if a deer is spotted. Also, remember deer often move in groups, so when there is one deer, there are usually more in the area.
• Use high-beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic. Deer may be spotted sooner when using high beams, allowing time to slow down, move over or beep to scare the deer away from the road.
• If a collision is unavoidable, press the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Swerving to avoid a deer can often cause a more serious crash or result in drivers losing control of vehicles.
• Drivers should always wear a seat belt and drivers should remain awake, alert and sober.
• If you hit a deer, turn on your hazard lights to alert motorists and call 911. If possible, remove your vehicle from the roadway, but only if the deer has left. Otherwise, keep you lights on to keep other traffic from striking you or the deer.