The ongoing harvest and the start of mating season have deer in Iowa on the move — possibly into the path of your car. Phil Wedgwood of Triple-A Iowa says if you find a deer in your headlights, you shouldn’t try to swerve out of the way. He says by swerving away to try and avoid hitting the deer, you’re increasing your chances of hitting a fixed object or another car. He says that increases your chances for a serious injury or death. Wedgwood says that’s why Triple-A has joined other safety officials in the “Don’t Veer For Deer” campaign.
He says the best thing to do is to try and stay calm, hold the steering wheel firmly, apply the brakes and continue in the same direction you’re going trying to come to a controlled stop. Wedgewood says you may damage your car and kill the deer, but that’s better than the alternative. He says, “Nobody wants to see a deer injured or destroyed, or much less seeing their vehicle damaged.” But he says staying the course and hitting the deer is the safest course of action.
Ten people were killed in deer/vehicle collisions in 2003 and that dropped to six last year after the don’t veer campaign started. Wedgewood says you can also help by thinking ahead. He says you should be mindful of your surroundings and unfamiliar areas and watch for deer crossing signs. He says also remember that deer are herd animals, and if you see one, you’ll likely see several. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says three people have been killed in car/deer collisions so far this year.