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It’s deer season, and while deer hunting is a favorite pastime for
many of us in Washington County, deer-related crashes are unfortunately also a common activity in our

rural community. This time of year, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department stays busy with deer-vehicle collisions.

Last year in the State of Indiana there were over 16,000 accidents involving deer. Out of those accidents,
347 involved injuries and there were five fatalities.

Nearly 50% of all vehicle crashes involving deer occur between October and December. According to State Farm Insurance, the odds of an Indiana driver hitting a deer are one in 142.

As your Sheriff, I want to pass along some safety tips put out by the Indiana State Police to hopefully help avoid deer-vehicle collisions.

Wear your seatbelt. While this tip is essential all the time, the heightened risk of crashes in deer season calls for extra vigilance. Please make sure the driver and all passengers buckle
up.

Be cautious while driving during dusk or dawn hours. Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, especially during the mating season, which is in full swing from October through
December.

Please remember though that deer can appear at any time.
Pay attention to deer crossing signs. Be alert and observe your surroundings for any signs of deer while on the road. Deer are abundant in forested areas, so it’s important to drive
cautiously even if you are no longer in a deer-crossing zone.

Stay alert if you spot a deer. Deer tend to travel in packs so if you see one deer, slow down and proceed with caution, be prepared for more to follow.

If you see a deer, slow down, tap your brakes to warn others, or flash your lights and sound your horn to warn other motorists. It will alert other motorists to the hazard and give everyone an opportunity to slow down.

Take precautions when driving at n ight. If there is no oncoming traffic, turn on your bright lights. You’ll not only be able to see clearer, but you’ll have a greater chance of spotting a deer from a distance and allow you to react accordingly.

Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Do not swerve to avoid a deer collision. By swerving you put yourself at risk for a worse collision with another motorist or running off the roadway.

Brake firmly and stay in your lane.

Report the deer-vehicle collision. If a driver hits a deer, it is important to remain calm and do not touch it or approach it. Drivers should remain in the vehicle, make sure everyone is
safe and call the police to obtain a crash report for the insurance company.

Motorists are required to report any crash with at least $1,000 in property damage or if someone is injured.

I am committed to the safety and security of the people of Washington County.

I know we are all familiar with deer in our rural community, and sometimes that familiarity causes us to be less cautious.

I hope we will all take this opportunity to remind ourselves of the risks of deer-vehicle collisions and take these sensible steps to decrease accidents and injuries this season.