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Love is in the air, that means danger is lurking around the roads

Officers stop deer on California bridge for 'toll evasion'
Posted at 4:45 PM, Oct 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-05 11:08:30-04

CLEVELAND — Here in northeast Ohio, we’re probably all used to sharing our territory with deer. But we have just entered the mating season, which means those deer are about to get a lot more active.

ODNR Division of Wildlife Spokesperson Jamey Emmert explained, “bucks are chasing does, they’re expanding their territories and they’re active day and night, and especially at night.”

That means when you get behind the wheel, you need to be alert and vigilant. We asked Ohio State Highway Patrol Public Relations Officer Sgt. Ray Santiago for some tips.

“Making sure that you’re aware and you’re scanning the roadway constantly so that, you know, you can react properly if you do see a deer run into the roadway,” he said. Sgt. Santiago said there have been 102,000 deer-related crashes in Ohio since 2017. 95% have only resulted in property damage.

“But the rest of those,” he said, “5% actually do result in a fatal crash.”

The best defense is to avoid a collision altogether. That means keeping your eyes peeled and slowing down if you do see a deer near the road. Remember if you see one, there are likely several more nearby. Use your brights where you can and be sure to buckle up. Most of the time you can avoid disaster. In cases where a deer does jump out of nowhere and a collision is unavoidable, “never swerve,” said Sgt. Santiago. “Stay in your lane.”

He said deer collisions can turn deadly when a driver swerves and risks crashing into another vehicle. The urge to swerve can be a tough instinct to overcome. That brings us back to rule #1: “Not being distracted,” said Sgt. Santiago. “When you’re alert and you’re aware behind the wheel you have that cognitive ability to make that decision.”

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