Deer in Iowa are currently in the “seeking and chasing” phase of the annual rut, meaning that more animals are on the move and a greater danger to motorists, particularly at dawn and dusk, according to FieldandStream.com. Also, deer activity for Southeast Iowa is listed as moderate to high.
So far this week, there have been 8 car accidents in Washington County involving deer, according to the Washington County Communications Center. The Iowa Department of Transportation lists more than 3,000 collisions with deer so far this year, with four motorist deaths and an estimated 172 injuries.
The DOT is reminding drivers to be alert at dawn and dusk and if a deer is in the path of your car, brake firmly, avoid swerving, steer to maintain control, stop safely in the lane or along the shoulder and use a safety belt.
The Iowa DOT advises:
When a deer is in the path of your vehicle, the driver of a vehicle (other than a motorcycle) should:
- Brake firmly.
- Steer to maintain control.
- Stop safely within the lane or along the shoulder of the highway.
- Use a safety belt to reduce the chance of personal injury.
The following motor vehicle driver tips will reduce the risk of deer crashes:
- Slow down when you see a deer warning sign – pay greater attention.
- Be especially careful driving at dawn and dusk.
- Remember deer rutting season occurs in November and December, and deer are more mobile and less cautious.
- Deer are more mobile during harvest and the hunting season.
- Be most alert for the presence of deer at locations where three factors converge:
– Food (corn fields or recently harvested corn fields).
– Shelter (woods).
– Water (streams, culverts and river crossings).