Deer have a way of finding their way into the path of vehicles year round. This is nothing new. AAA is pointing out that the whitetail deer mating season, commonly referred to by hunters as the "rut," is nearly here and is a big cause for an uptick in deer versus car collisions in the fall.

Bucks are chasing does, does are running from bucks if they aren't quite in the mood or ready to mate, but bucks know does could be so they still chase the does who try to escape across a highway and get bounced off of a garbage truck or crossover or whatever.

In a nutshell, horny deer get hit by cars more than not-horny deer.

October, November, and December are the months when the most deer are hit by vehicles every year. November is when the peak of the rut in South Dakota.

“We really need to be extra alert no matter what road we’re traveling, but especially in rural and wooded areas,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokeswoman for AAA South Dakota. “Rush hours are also high risk times because they coincide with when deer are most active. First and foremost, always protect yourself by wearing a seat belt and removing all distractions behind the wheel.”

From the press release:

AAA has some tips to help prevent a crash or to reduce damage from an animal collision:
  • Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
  • Keep your eyes moving back and forth. Continuously sweep your eyes across the road in front of you for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also be alongside the road, so make sure to look to the right and left, as well. While the most likely crash is you hitting an animal, on occasion they might also hit you by running into the side of your car.
  • Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. – prime commuting times for many people.
  • Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
  • Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
  • Slow down around curves. It’s harder to spot animals when going around curves.
  • One long blast. A long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your vehicle.
  • Resist the urge to swerve: Instead, stay in your lane with both hands firmly on the wheel. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause you to crash into something like a lamppost or a tree.
  • If the crash is imminent take your foot off the brake: during hard braking the front end of your vehicle is pulled downward which can cause the animal to travel up over the hood towards your windshield. Letting off the brake can protect drivers from windshield strikes because the animal is more likely to be pushed to one side of the vehicle or over the top of the vehicle.
  • Always wear a seatbelt. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on. Also never drive impaired, distracted or drowsy.
  • Consider purchasing comprehensive insurance, if you don’t already have it. Comprehensive insurance is the type of insurance that covers animal strikes.
In the event of a collision with an animal, AAA recommends:
  • Following the collision, call the police.
  • Avoid making contact with the deer/animal. A frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself.
  • Put the vehicle’s hazard lights on; whether it’s light or dark outside.
  • If possible, move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway, and wait for help to arrive. Your safety and the safety of your passengers is most important.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Enter your email to receive the latest news, contests, concert announcements and more directly to your inbox!
  • Name*