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October Marks Deer-Vehicle Crash Season
COLUMBUS (Terri Sullivan/Kate Liebers) - Autumn is breeding season for white-tailed deer, which, for drivers, means deer-crash season.
The risk of deer-vehicle collisions is greatest from October through January as well as May, according to Ohio Insurance Institute.
Since 2011, most of Ohio has experienced a downward trend in these collisions, yet OII spokesperson Mary Bonelli said some parts of the state -- including Columbus -- are still reporting increases.
"In Central Ohio we actually saw an uptick in Delaware and Franklin counties between those two years," she said.
Dawn and dusk are the prime time for deer accidents, especially in November, Bonelli said.
She advised drivers to use their high beams at night when there is no oncoming traffic, as the light reflecting back in the deer's eyes could be a driver's first warning.
"If you find yourself in a situation where you're going to be coming into contact with the dear, your best bet is to hold (firm) onto the steering wheel and try to maneuver the best you can and slow down," Bonelli said. "Try to stay in control of your car. It could be even worse if you try to swerve to avoid hitting a deer."
The OII offers additional tips for drivers, such as driving under the speed limit in areas with deer-crossing signs, and being aware that deer often dart into traffic on busy highways in metro areas.
The institute also reminds drivers that if one deer is spotted on a roadway, others are likely nearby.
Drivers that strike a deer are to report the incident to local law enforcement or a state wildlife officer within 24 hours, according to OII. Under Ohio law, the driver of a vehicle that strikes and kills a deer may take possession of it by first obtaining a deer possession receipt. Such receipts are available from law enforcement or state wildlife officers, and from local Division of Wildlife district offices.