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Deer-car collisions decline in Illinois

The number of car collisions with deer declined in 2011, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The DOT announcement was good news since as the number of fatal crashes, injuries and motorists killed by car accidents involving deer has decreased.

Fatal car accidents involving deer resulted in six fatalities in Illinois during 2011. This was a decrease from the 10 reported fatalities in 2010. The number of injuries caused by deer-car collisions also declined from 634 in 2010 to 613 in 2011.

While the number of fatal car accidents involving deer has declined, the state DOT is still reminding motorists to pay attention while driving and be on the lookout for deer along the road, especially in more rural areas of the state.

The fall and winter months are the most common time for deer-car collisions to occur in Illinois. The DOT reminded drivers to slow down, drive defensively, obey speed limits and be alert for wildlife when driving at night. The DOT said that while the decrease in fatal deer-car collisions is a step in the right direction, more awareness and safety precautions need to be made.

The National Department of Transportation offered the following safety tips for avoiding animals while driving:

  • Slow down: lower speed levels give drivers more time to react if they see an animal in the road.
  • Avoid swerving: most of the reported fatal accidents are caused by drivers swerving to avoid hitting an animal and instead hit another car or object.
  • Be aware: constantly scan both sides of the road for animals and watch for unusual movements.
  • Improve vehicle lights: it is best to use high beams when no other cars are around, especially in rural or semi-rural areas.

Source: Clinton Daily Journal, "Vehicle crash deaths in Illinois involving deer decline," Nov. 6, 2012

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