Whether it's the summer months, hunting season, or the holidays, Minnesotans are always on the move. Be it a road trip to see friends and relatives “up north,” or a quiet retreat to the lake cabin, remember that deer are still on the move too. While deer typically pose the largest threat to motorists in the autumn months, Minnesota’s large deer population makes them a roadway hazard year-round.
The most important safety tip from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is don’t veer for deer.
It’s a helpful reminder for drivers to not swerve to avoid a deer. Swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic.
So, how can you be safe when you're in areas with a large deer population? The Department of Public Safety provides these tips:
- Drive at safe speeds and always be buckled up.
- Be extra cautious from 6-9p.m., when deer are most active.
- Use high beams as much as possible at night, especially in deer-active areas.
- Don’t count on deer whistles or deer fences to deter deer from crossing roads.
- Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. If anything looks slightly suspicious, slow down.
- Slow down in areas known to have a large deer population — such as areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forest land; and whenever in forested areas between dusk and dawn.
- Deer do unpredictable things — they stop in the middle of the road when crossing; cross and quickly re-cross back; and move toward an approaching vehicle. Blow horn to urge deer to leave the road. Stop if the deer stays on the road, don’t try to go around it.
Accidents do happen between deer and vehicles. If you happen to strike a deer, keep a safe distance as the deer may recover and move on. If the animal does not move on, or poses a threat to public safety, report the incident to a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer or other local law enforcement agency.