SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Illinois State Police today reminded motorists that this is the time of year to be on high alert for deer on Illinois roads.
The latest statistics show that motor vehicle crashes involving deer increased slightly in Illinois last year: 15,356 crashes in 2014, compared to 15,334 crashes in 2013. There were 14,847 crashes that resulted in property damage only in 2014, compared to 14,811 in 2013.
Despite the increases, there were fewer fatalities resulting from crashes involving deer: four fatalities in 2014, down from six fatalities in 2013. The number of injuries in motor vehicle crashes involving deer also declined, from 617 in 2013 to 570 in 2014.
On average, nearly half of all crashes involving deer in Illinois happen in October, November, and December. Approximately 80 percent of crashes involving deer happen on rural roads at twilight or nighttime.
The top 10 counties for crashes involving deer in 2014 were:
1. Cook 428
1. Madison 428
3. Will 401
4. Sangamon 394
5. Fulton 350
6. Peoria 340
7. Lake 324
8. Kane 319
9. Rock Island 290
10. Jackson 288
Tips for avoiding collisions with deer:
• Reduce your speed near water, farm fields, and wooded areas; be prepared to stop.
• Deer will often cross roads and double back; make sure deer have moved away from the road before proceeding.
• If you see one deer, be aware that others may be close behind.
• Alert other motorists to the presence of deer by tapping your brakes.
• Don’t swerve into traffic or off the road if you see a deer; instead, slow to a stop.
Here are some things to remember if you are involved in a motor vehicle crash with a deer:
• Pull to a safe location off of the roadway.
• Be sure to turn on your emergency flashers.
• If anyone is injured or the vehicle needs to be towed, a police officer will need to respond to the scene to complete a crash report.
• If there are no injuries and the vehicle can be driven from the scene, it is likely that you can phone in the information and a crash report can be completed.
• If you are phoning in the information for the crash report, be sure you have the following information available: time of crash, location of crash, vehicle registration information, insurance information, and names and phone numbers of any passengers in the vehicle with you at the time of crash.
A driver involved in a crash with a deer may take possession of the animal. Click here for information on how this process works. Those who are interested in how deer/vehicle collision data is used in deer management can find more information by clicking here.