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What to do if you see a deer while driving

Posted at 3:25 PM, Jun 12, 2017

State troopers said a deadly crash on the Ohio Turnpike Saturday, that claimed the lives of two children, happened when the driver swerved to miss a deer.

Their car was then struck by a semi.

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, most deer-related crashes happen during mating season, from October to December. The most dangerous times are during the morning and evening rush hours, 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday’s deadly crash happened at 4:20 a.m.

State Trooper Lieutenant Travis Hughes said the most important thing to do if you see a deer is to stay in your lane.

“If it results in braking, our advice is to not leave your lane of travel,” Hughes said.

  • There were 310 car-deer crashes in Cuyahoga County in 2016.
  • Stark County had 510. Lorain County has 459.

Lieutenant Hughes said drivers should avoid swerving, which could cause the car to hit another vehicle,
to avoid swerving which could result in striking another vehicle, flipping the car or leaving the roadway.

"If you swerve there’s the possibility to lose control. It’s not a controlled maneuver so you can make a bad situation worse,”  Hughes said.  

Does that mean you’re better off striking the deer?

“Yes, yes, obviously if the crash is unavoidable, again we recommend controlled braking, staying within your lane and not over correcting,” Hughes said.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 31 people have been killed in car-deer-related crashes on Ohio roads in the last five years.