Ky. ‘Antler Alert’ issued as peak season for crashes involving deer arrives


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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is issuing an “Antler Alert” to remind drivers it’s peak season for highway collisions involving deer and other wildlife on the move.

“Shorter days and cooler nights, October through December, bring a noticeable increase in highway collisions involving deer,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “Drivers should be vigilant at all times, but the autumn presents a special challenge for drivers, with deer and other wildlife increasingly on the move, often at night.”

Every year, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. issues a closely watched report of collisions involving deer and other wildlife, based on insurance claims. For the year that ended June 30, 2020, State Farm reported more than 1.9 million animal collision claims in the United States, of which 1.5 million involved deer.

On average, U.S. drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal. Kentucky ranks above the national average and 18th among the states at 1 chance in 88. Drivers in neighboring West Virginia run the highest risk – 1 in 37, according to State Farm. (View the report here.)

As the report notes, highway crash rates involving wildlife increase sharply in October, November, and December with mating seasons, hunting seasons, and fall harvests, which will prompt deer to roam in search of new hiding places and sources of food.

In Kentucky, 2,091 highway crashes involving deer were reported to police in 2020, according to a database maintained by Kentucky State Police and closely followed by the KYTC Office of Highway Safety.

KYTC offers these driving tips to help improve safety:

  • Slow down immediately upon spotting a deer crossing the roadway; they tend to travel in groups.
  • Don’t swerve to avoid a deer, which can result in a more serious crash with an oncoming vehicle or roadside object.
  • In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and apply brakes steadily until stopped.
  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Keep headlights on bright unless other vehicles are approaching.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving: Phones down!
  • Drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.

Drivers are asked to report all deer-vehicle collisions to police.

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