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Preventing Deer and Vehicle Collisions

According to the Deer Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse, in 2013 at least 18,338 deer were killed by motor vehicles in Wisconsin.

That same year, eight people died in motor vehicle-deer crashes, and 402 people were injured.

Motorcyclists especially should be alert to deer on the roadways. In 2013, according to the WI DOT, 68.3% of motorcycle-deer crashes resulted in a fatality or injury to a motorcyclist. Six of the 8 motor vehicle/deer crash fatalities in 2013 were motorcyclists. 

The wildlife experts at the WHS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center recommend taking the following precautions to avoid collisions with deer:

  • Stay alert. Watch for deer near roadways.
  • Slow down whenever you see deer near roadways. They are very unpredictable.
  • Slow down in deer crossing zones. The signs are posted because a high number of deer crossings have been reported in that area.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights by driving at excessive speeds at night. If a deer jumps out into the roadway, will you be able to stop in time? Slow down to make sure you can brake to avoid deer.
  • Use your high-beams when driving at night when you can.
  • Get your vehicle’s brakes and tires checked to be sure they are in good condition.
  • Avoid swerving from your lane to miss a deer. This could cause your car to lose control, strike an oncoming car or leave the roadway.
  • Watch for more than one deer. Deer often travel in groups.
  • Avoid frightening deer. Deer that wander into neighborhoods are often very easily frightened and unpredictable. Loud noises or being approached by people or dogs may cause them to run into traffic or even panic and jump through a window! Deer in neighborhoods will usually find their way to more suitable habitat if left undisturbed.

If you have questions about a deer that seems to be in distress in Milwaukee County, call the Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at (414) 431-6204.