It’s the onset of deer mating season, and increased activity means increased risk for drivers.
“This is prime time,” Sheriff Robert Craft said. “This fall season during the rut is the major time.”
Deer accidents in Marion County were down slightly in 2014, dropping to 101 from 117 in 2013. Since 2000, there has been an average of two deer accidents per week on county roads.
The average property damage from a deer-vehicle collision is $4,135, according to a 2015 State Farm Insurance study.
Craft said the greatest risk of injury and severe damage doesn’t come from colliding with a deer.
“Typically, it’s not from hitting the deer, it’s from the driver’s reaction and going into the ditch and hitting a pole or a tree or a culvert,” he said. “It’s the attempt to avoid.”
Accidents are more likely to occur around dawn and dusk, and drivers should pay closer attention near creek bottoms and wooded areas that come up near roads, Craft said.
He also said drivers shouldn’t rely on gimmicks like deer whistles to avoid accidents.
“I can’t prove either way,” he said. “I know people who swear by them, and some who swear at them.”
Driving at a safe and reasonable speed for conditions, wearing a seat belt, and remaining attentive are the best ways to stay safe and avoid accidents, Craft said.