ROCHESTER, Minn. - Driving on Minnesota roadways is becoming a little more dangerous as deer activity reportedly increases during November.
The Minnesota State Patrol says last year deer crashes went from 164 in October to 221 in November. The increase is even starker compared to just 44 dear related crashes in August of the same year.
Driver Jodell Nelson knows how dangerous deer are out on the roadways. She said, “We're always watching the medians, the side of the roads and if one does happen to, we try not to swerve, we stay straight, put on the breaks, and try to avoid them whenever possible.”
Drivers can already see “Don’t Veer for Deer” signage along the highway as the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is warning everyone out on the roadway to pay attention.
Sgt. Troy Christianson says deer-vehicle crashes increase significantly during the colder months with November being one of the worst.
He explained, “This time of year we see an increase in farmers active in the field, and also deer hunting starts in the month of November so deer are more active and moving. So, it's important people are aware of it and just make sure you reduce speeds during the early morning hours and also in the evening. That's typically when the deer are most active.”
Out of the 18 deer-related crash deaths from 2016-2020, Christianson says 15 of those were motorcyclists.
“Motorcycle riders if they do see deer make sure you're wearing all your protective gear and your helmet, reduce your speeds, and try and avoid driving at nighttime,” he said.
If you do hit a deer Christianson says to pull over to the side of the road and don’t get out until 911 is called and arrives on the scene.
He added, “We've just had a couple of people get out of their vehicle and actually get struck by oncoming traffic. They're looking at the damage and also the deer so when we get there we'll remove the deer and just stay in your vehicle so you can stay safe.”
Other safety tips include using high beams as much as possible at night and being extra cautious from 6pm-9pm.