Madison County leads the state in vehicle crashes involving deer, and November is the most at-risk month for such accidents, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Eight people died, and more than 600 were injured in 2015 in 15,754 vehicle-deer accidents in the state. Nearly 45 percent of those crashes occurred in October, November and December. There were 440 accidents in Madison County followed by Cook County with 431. By comparison, St. Clair County reported 212 crashes involving deer.
IDOT spokesman Brian Williamsen says deer are most active at dusk during autumn, which is their mating season.
“If you’re driving at night, especially in the twilight hours this time of year, you have to be alert because there’s a decent possibility that you’ll encounter a deer out there,’’ he said.
The number of vehicle-deer crashes has risen in recent years. In 2014, there were 14,854 accidents in Illinois, with four fatalities.
IDOT offers the following tips for motorists:
- Pay attention to deer-crossing signs and scan the sides of the road as you drive.
- Be prepared for the unexpected. Deer can stop in the middle of the road or double back. If you see one deer, slow down because there will likely be others.
- If a collision is inevitable, don’t swerve. Apply your brakes and stay in your lane. Swerving could cause a head-on collision or force your car off the road.
- If you do hit a deer, pull off to the shoulder. Stay in your car and turn on the hazard lights. Call 911 to report the accident.