Oct 15, 2012 10:20 PM
ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) - Officials are warning motorists to watch for deer on the roadways in Kentucky.
October is the beginning of a three-month period that is the peak season to see deer on roadways around the state. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says that's because it is white-tailed deer mating season, which means the animals are more likely to cross roads as bucks chase does.
The Kentucky Farm Bureau told The News-Enterprise that almost half of all collisions with deer in the state happen in October, November and December.
Hardin County Sheriff's Office spokesman Greg Lowe says deer are most often seen either early in the morning or late at night.
Lowe said one way for drivers to spot them is that their eyes will glow when headlights shine on them.
"(Drivers) just have to be on the lookout for them," he said.
However, he noted that the animals move in unpredictable ways. For instance, he says sometimes it appears they will stay on the edge of a road, but then they dart into it at the last second.
Kentucky State Police Post 4 spokesman Norman Chaffins said the animals are typically seen near rural roads, but it isn't uncommon to see them on bigger highways such as parkways or interstates.
He says the safest response is to let off the gas and, if it is unavoidable, to hit the deer. Chaffins, a longtime accident reconstructionist, said hitting the animal may cause damage to a vehicle, but he has never worked a wreck where such an impact killed the driver.
"One of the worst things you can do is swerve at a high rate of speed to avoid an animal in the roadway," he said.
He said that can lead to a vehicle overturning or hitting something even worse, like a tree.
According to state police data from 2011, there were 2,938 collisions with deer reported in which three people died, 20 suffered serious injuries and 55 had minor injuries.
Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)