PEKIN, Ill. – As deer hunting season in Illinois approaches and bucks prepare to come into rut – the mating season between October and December – you’ll notice an increase in deer activity around your area. A herd of does or a 10-point buck grazing in a vast, verdant field is a beautiful sight, but deer are more apt to cross streets and roads during mating season and it can result in unpleasant encounters for drivers.
Many people believe braking for deer increases your risk of injury and vehicle damage because it causes your car’s front bumper to dip. But contrary to popular beliefs, there are reasons why you should hit the brakes if a deer runs in front of your car rather than maintain or increase your speed.
When you brake and hit a deer at a lower speed it mitigates the force of impact. When you hit a deer at full speed your car delivers a greater force of impact, according to MythBusters. The deer will absorb that power and return it your vehicle, causing more damage and potential for injury.
Assuming another driver isn’t tailgating you, the safest way to hit a deer is to brake firmly, keep your hands on the wheel, and collide head-on with the animal. Swerving to avoid a car-deer collision puts you in more danger because you risk hitting another driver, a tree, or landing in a ditch and rolling.
It’s estimated over 1.25 million car-deer collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, and in the last year the likelihood of hitting a deer in Illinois increased by 6%, according to State Farm. While Illinois is a medium risk state for car-deer collisions, compared to the states surrounding it, the data still speaks to the importance of staying aware on the road during deer hunting season.
It’s important to understand why you should hit the brakes if a deer runs in front of your car, but it's best if you can avoid a car-deer collision. To reduce your chances of a collision during deer season, keep these tips in mind when you’re driving:
- Deer are nocturnal animals. You should stay especially cautious at night because encounters are more likely.
- Use your high beams when you’re driving on a dark road. The larger scope of light will help you spot deer earlier from a distance and give you more time to react.
- If you see one deer, there are likely more nearby. Deer usually travel in groups, so slow down and stay aware.
Illinois is one state fortunate enough to experience autumn's notable beauty, but as with any season hazards tag along with the good things. If you have a run-in with a deer this fall on your way to a Central Illinois cider mill or corn maze, stop in at our Tremont area Ford dealer for your car repair and our team will make your vehicle look like it had never seen a set of antlers.
At Velde Ford, we are committed to providing our customers with an unbeatable level of service and a great car buying experience. Feel free to visit our dealership, Velde Ford at 2200 North 8th Street, Pekin, IL 61554.