Car-deer accidents increase to record high in 2015
The number of deer-related car accidents in Kewaunee County rose to a record high of 502 in 2015, according to statistics compiled by the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department.
The number of car-deer accidents has increased annually since 2011, when 269 deer-related car accidents were reported. Deer-related car accidents reported in 2012 were 369, and in 2013 there were 403 accidents. In 2014, 458 accidents were reported, according to the sheriff’s department.
Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski said that there could be a number of contributing factors to the increased accidents, including a possible increase in the deer population, inattentive driving due to cellphone use or reduced municipal budgets that don’t require employees to mow fence to fence, allowing deer to hide in ditches near the road.
A sheriff’s department GIS map shows that most deer accidents occur along Wisconsin 42 between Kewaunee and Alaska, County AB south of the intersection with County K, Wisconsin 29 from Kewaunee west to the county line, County S north of Algoma, Wisconsin 42 south of County G, and Wisconsin 54 near Casco and west to the county line.
There are a number of common sense tips to help avoid a deer accident, Joski said.
“The first is not to overdrive your headlights,” he said Headlights provide a clear lit field of vision to a certain distance, he said.
“That distance should be sufficient for proper response time in any given incident,” he said. “However, if you are driving too fast, that same field of vision is now compressed and your ability to effectively respond will be diminished.”
Drivers should also not follow the car ahead too closely, Joski said.
“What we have seen is that the first vehicle traveling down the road may see the deer in plenty of time and take evasive action, however, the second car, because it is following too close, did not have this crucial response time resulting in a accident,” he said.
If you see a deer on the road, the best course of action is to apply the brakes and maintain your course of direction, Joski said.
“The chance that you may miss the deer by taking evasive action and steering away from it in either direction is very limited,” he said. “However, the possibility of causing greater harm to yourself and others increases when diverting either toward the oncoming lane of traffic or even the ditch, which can result in a potential roll-over accident.”
Most deer accidents occur in fall and between dusk and dawn, however, deer accidents do occur in broad daylight, Joski said.
“The rules of defensive driving we were all taught is still relevant for both new drivers and those of us with a few miles behind us,” he said. “While younger drivers pose a risk due to inexperience, veteran drivers also pose a risk due to poor habits and reduced vigilance.”
He said that deer can come out onto the road quickly, and even when drivers are paying attention, some accidents are unavoidable, he said.
“But when we are preoccupied with technology or passengers, the likelihood of impact dramatically increases,” he said.
If a driver does hit a deer and property damage occurs, the driver should call the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, said Joski. A deputy will be dispatched to the scene to fill out a report or the driver can fill out a report on-line. If no damage occurs to the vehicle or other property, the sheriff’s department still should be notified if the driver does not want to claim the deer, so pick up can be arranged, Joski said.
If a driver or passenger wants to take possession of the deer, he or she must call the DNR non-emergency dispatch at 1-608-267-7691. By talking with the dispatcher or leaving a voice message, an individual is authorized by the DNR to take possession of a car-killed carcass, according to regulations published by the DNR.
This applies to anyone who wants to take a car-killed deer, Joski said. The DNR requires that the whole carcass is taken, not just the head and other desired parts.
For more information, contact the DNR at 888-936-7463.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Car-deer accidents increase to record high in 2015