The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is issuing an “Antler Alert” to remind motorists that it is peak season for highway collisions involving deer and other wildlife on the move.

“Shorter days and cooler nights, October through December, bring a noticeable increase in highway collisions involving deer,” said Jim Gray, secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “Drivers should be vigilant at all times, but the autumn presents a special challenge for drivers, with deer and other wildlife increasingly on the move, often at night.”

Last year, 2,091 highway crashes involving deer were reported to police in Kentucky, according to a database maintained by Kentucky State Police and followed closely by the cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety. Twenty-two of those were in Trigg County.

The largest number of crashes involving deer in the state occurred in Boone County, which had 123 such crashes in 2020. Boone was followed closely by Christian County, with 101.

Cabinet officials urge motorists to slow down immediately upon spotting a deer crossing the roadway since they tend to travel in groups. Motors should not swerve to avoid a deer, which can result in a more serious crash with an oncoming vehicle or roadside object.

Additionally, follow these tips to help improve safety:

• In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and apply brakes steadily until stopped.

• Always wear a seat belt.

• Keep headlights on bright unless other vehicles are approaching.

• Eliminate distractions while driving: Phones down!

• Drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.

A report issued every year by the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. included more than 1.9 million animal collision claims in the United States for the year that ended June 30, 2020, with 1.5 million of those involving deer.

State Farm notes that, on average, U.S. drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal. Kentucky ranks above the national average and 18th among all the states at 1 chance in 88. Drivers in neighboring West Virginia run the highest risk — 1 in 37, according to State Farm.

The agency’s report also notes that highway crash rates involving wildlife increase sharply in October, November and December with mating seasons, hunting seasons and fall harvests, which will prompt deer to roam in search of new hiding places and sources of food.

Motorists are asked to report all deer-vehicle collisions to police. Transportation cabinet traffic engineers use the crash data to aid in placing deer-crossing warning signs and other safety measures.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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