Each year from 2014-2018 in Oregon there were an estimated 7,000 crashes involving deer and elk causing an average of 2.2 human fatalities with over 453 people injured. The crashes resulted in $44 million in vehicle damages, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
The ODOT report finds that October and November are the busiest months for vehicle-wildlife collisions. With deer and elk on the move due to breeding season and migration to winter ranges, more wildlife are crossing roads all over the state.
ODOT Is cautioning drivers to be alert and ready to slow down and has issued the following advisory about the collision dangers.
Signs placed in particularly popular areas for wildlife crossing are one tool to help drivers avoid collisions. Being especially watchful around sunrise and sunset is another tip that can help reduce vehicle-wildlife incidents.
Be aware of the possible dangers associated with animals on or near roadways. When you see a wildlife, reduce your speed, and try to stay in your lane. And always wear your safety belt.
Steps to avoid a deer crossing
- Watch for the rest of the gang. If you’ve seen one, you haven’t seen them all!
- Wear a seat belt. It’s won’t prevent a collision, but wearing one can reduce injuries.
- Take a moment to reflect. Look for road signs. And always stay away, aware and sober.
- Illuminate. Use high beam headlights if there’s no oncoming traffic. The light will reflect in a deer’s eyes.
- Honk. One long blast can scare deer to of the road.
- Timing is everything. Be extra cautious during the spring and fall and at dusk and dawn when deer are most active.
If a collision is unavoidable
- Stay on course. Don’t swerve, brake firmly and stay inn your lane.
- Alert other drivers. Pull off the rad and put on flashers.
- Contact authorities. If you collide with a large animal, you are legally required to report it to law enforcement.
- Report animals you move. Refer to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife webpage for animal salvage guidelines.