Most deer-vehicle accidents occur during the fall between 5p.m. and 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. While not all deer-vehicle collisions can be prevented, there are steps that drivers can take to avoid an accident or lessen the impact on others on the roadway.
The most severe of these deer accidents are a result of commercial vehicle drivers swerving to avoid a deer in the road such as this recent Hancock County crash. Truck drivers must be prepared for deer to enter the roadway and drive defensively throughout the fall in Illinois.
An animal in the road does not absolve the truck driver of fault if an accident occurs. All drivers have a duty to maintain a proper lookout and stay in their lanes. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommends the following rules for driving around deer:
- Drivers should use high-beam headlights when appropriate to see deer approaching.
- Drivers should slow down and prepare to stop if a deer is along the side of the road. There are likely more deer nearby. Deer will often follow one another single file across a road. Trying to cross through the middle of such a group often results in deer colliding with the side of the vehicle.
- If there are deer near the road, and there are no vehicles close behind, slow down, honk the vehicle’s horn in short bursts and flash the headlights.
- If deer are near the road, drivers should tap the brakes or use the emergency flashers to alert other drivers. Prepare to safely stop if the deer move toward the roadway.
- If there are deer on or approaching the road, do not slam on the brakes or swerve sharply to avoid the deer. It is instinctual to do this, but doing so may cause a loss of control of the vehicle and a more severe accident.
- Never tailgate! Always leave plenty of room between vehicles. Many severe deer vehicle accidents are caused when another vehicle becomes involved.
On Thursday night a commercial truck driver was cited for improper lane usage when he swerved to avoid a deer in the road way in Hancock County Illinios. The Quincy Herald Whig Reports:
Illinois State Police District 14 reports a 2003 Mack truck tractor with a 2008 Timpte semi-trailer driven by Charles F. DeJaynes, 77, of Dallas City, was eastbound on Ill. 9 approximately 0.2 mile west of County Road 2650 East at 6:30 a.m. A 2000 Chevrolet S-10 truck was westbound on Ill. 9 approaching the Mack truck. A deer entered the roadway in front of the Mack truck. DeJaynes braked to avoid the deer and began to skid. The Mack truck crossed the center line into the westbound lane and struck the S-10 in the driver’s side in front of the driver’s door. Both vehicles went off the roadway to the north after impact.
The driver of the S-10 was not wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected. The driver, whose name was not released, died in the crash.
DeJaynes was treated at Memorial Hospital in Carthage for non-incapacitating injuries.
DeJaynes was charged with improper lane usage.
The patrol was assisted by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Hancock County Coroner’s Office, LaHarpe Fire Department and Hancock County EMS.
Contact Alexander Loftus if you, a client, or a loved one has been involved in a crash like this recent Hancock County incident.
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