NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) cautions motorists to watch out for deer on or near the roadways. An increase in deer related crashes is more likely during November-December due to deer mating and hunting season.
"Deer related crashes can be a very serious and dangerous incident," THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. "Deer pose a danger to motorists throughout the year, especially in the fall. Stats show November is typically the worst month for deer-related crashes. It is important for motorists to exercise caution, slow down and remain alert in areas where deer are present."
In Tennessee from 2012 and 2016, 6.4 percent of deer related crashes occurred on state highways. In 2016, there were 7,219 deer related crashes including 330 that involved injuries and one that was fatal. That's a 3.8 percent increase from 6,955 the previous year. Since 2011, deer related crashes in Tennessee have increased 26.7 percent. As of October 31, 2017, there have been 4,223 deer involved traffic crashes across the state.
October through December is prime mating months for deer. This causes deer to be less aware causing motorists to pay extra attention to deer darting directly in front of traffic. Attached are deer related crash stats for the last five years.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) and the Tennessee Highway Patrol suggest the following tips to help prevent deer related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons particularly at dawn and dusk:
When you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit;
Be attentive and drive defensively constantly scanning the roadside, especially at dawn and dusk;
Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic causing a serious crash. Swerving can also confuse the deer as to where to run;
When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly when passing;
If you do collide with a deer, never approach the animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.
In the event of a deer crash, move the vehicle as far off the road as possible and dial *THP (*847). The call will be connected to the nearest THP communications center, and a state trooper will be dispatched to the location.
Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) regional office and report the accident within 48 hours. For a list of TWRA regional offices, visit the website at www.tnwildlife.org.