If you have ever hit a deer driving down the road at night in Utah, you know how scary it can be. Nationally, 1.5 million deer and auto collisions happen every year resulting in a billion dollars in vehicle damage. With 30 million deer in the United States and the number of cars on the highways increasing, these statistics will continue to rise.
November is the worst month for deer getting hit in Utah according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
"The peak time to hit deer in Utah is during November," Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Migration Initiative Coordinator Blair Stringham said. "It coincides with mating season and the annual migration of deer. Animals are crossing more roads during the migration, and male deer move around a lot more to find mates. It also doesn't help that the daylight hours are shorter during this time of year, creating lower visibility for drivers."
If you are traveling a highway at night, pay attention to the deer crossing signs. If you do see deer on the side of the road, blinking your lights will help the deer not to fixate on them. Braking too hard or cranking the steering wheel can be dangerous. Trying to avoid the deer by swerving off the road can often result in more damage.
If you do see a deer carcass in the road that is a danger to vehicle traffic, a call to the highway patrol may be warranted. Otherwise, you can report a dead animal on the U-Dot mobile app. If the animal looks like it has been poached, contact DWR.
This holiday season think ahead and travel safely on Utah’s highways.
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Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll