Now that autumn is here, motorists need to be extra alert for darting deer on the roadways.

Transportation officials urge drivers to reduce the risk of a car-deer crash by slowing down, and being especially watchful during dawn and dusk when deer are most active. David Pabst, director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety, says October and November are peak months for deer movement. “Of course it’s the rut and the deer breeding season, and also the hunters are going out into the woods … so there’s a lot more traffic and the deer are getting pushed around.”

Deer often travel in groups. So, if you see one, expect more. If you spot a deer, hit the horn and slow down. Break firmly, if needed, but don’t swerve to avoid a deer — you could easily lose control and crash your vehicle, making matters much worse. If you can’t avoid a collision, it’s best to hit your brakes and even the deer.

While car-deer crashes are common, Pabst says, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable. “Last year, 14 people lost their life in deer-vehicle crashes and 13 of those were motorcyclists.”

If you hit a deer, pull over to the side of the road if possible, and then call law enforcement. Last year, officials responded to nearly 19,000 deer-vehicle crashes.

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