Drivers warned to keep an eye out for deer - – Rockford’s News Leader

Drivers warned to keep an eye out for deer


The last thing drivers want to see is a deer in their headlights. This time of year, there's a big risk of that, anytime you're on the road.

"Just came out of nowhere. Didn't even see it, traveling normal speed and then bang," says John Wirchnianski, who says he hit a deer just last month.

That bang came from a deer, a common problem this time of year. Since September 1st, there have been nine crashes involving deer in Illinois. Each year, more than 20,000 deer are killed by vehicles across the state.

"A lot of times we see people swerving when they see a deer, and then they go off the road and cause a lot more damage to their vehicle," says Illinois State Trooper Brent Massingill. "And there's a lot more possibility of getting injured, or worse, when you go off the road and maybe roll your vehicle, or hit something. Where as when you hit a deer, you can get injured, you can get killed, but it's very unlikely."

But keeping your eyes peeled for Bambi may be more of a challenge, especially in Illinois. A big issue for both deer and drivers is the high corn that hasn't been cut yet. Deer can't see the drivers and drivers can't see the deer, which is exactly what happened to Wirchnianski.

"When the deer did hit me, I just saw a bunch of plastic parts flying from my vehicle," says Wirchnianski. "It happened so quickly, so fast. And I walked back, and unfortunately I saw the deer on the side of the road."

If you get into an accident, people are urged to call the police. They'll do a crash report and of course remove the deer, often picked up by the Department of Transportation. Or if you so desire, give the Department of Natural Resources a call and your road kill could be your dinner.

"They will keep track that you took that deer, just because they have to keep tabs on how many deer are hit and things of that nature, so it's kind of a numbers thing," says Massingill. "But yes, people can keep the deer."

Massingill strongly stresses not to swerve to avoid a deer. You're much less likely to get hurt that way. If you have to hit the deer, he says, just hit the deer.

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