Watch out for deer at this time of year It’s the time of year when drivers need to be especially vigilant on the roads, particularly around dusk or dawn. Deer are on the move, especially during those times, creating hazards on the roadways. And deer are

It’s the time of year when drivers need to be especially vigilant on the roads, particularly around dusk or dawn.

Deer are on the move, especially during those times, creating hazards on the roadways. And deer are a big problem for drivers in Iowa.

According to the CarInsurance.com website, Iowa ranks third in the nation in the likelihood of car-deer crashes. And State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur on a day in November than they are on any day between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31. October is the second most likely month for a crash involving a deer and a vehicle. December is third.

Crashes involving animals may be unavoidable at times, but there are things drivers can do to lessen the chances.

Trooper Dan Loussaert of the Iowa State Patrol has some tips:

First, and perhaps most important, don’t swerve to avoid a deer or other animal.

“Stay in your lane and hit your brakes,” Loussaert says. Drivers are much more likely to hurt themselves or others if you swerve into another lane or go off the road while trying to avoid a deer. Experts say it’s better to hit the deer, causing some damage to your car, than to risk injury or death by veering away from the animal.

  • Increase your following distance and “even slow down a bit, especially at times of dawn and dusk,” he says.

Try to avoid roads if parallel to a nearby four-lane road, especially in the morning and evening. “Not only will this help you avoid deer, it also may help you avoid some machinery on the roadway,” Loussaert says.

Use bright lights when it’s legally possible. It may help you spot deer on or near the road sooner, but be careful not to blind oncoming drivers.

A couple of other tips:

Deer crossing signs are placed along sections of roadway for a reason; those areas are known to have lots of deer. Still, be vigilant in other areas too.

Deer move in packs, so if you see one, you can bet there are more nearby.

Statistics compiled by the National Highway Safety Administration are staggering: There are about 1.5 million deer-related car accidents annually; the accidents result in more than $1 billion in vehicle damage; and they cause 175-200 fatalities and 10,000 injuries every year.

Don’t become part of those statistics; keep an eye out for deer along roads this time of year.

-Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Oct. 30, 201