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Oh deer | By Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt

Dodge Co., Wi – As we enter into the season when deer like to wander onto roads, everyone must be aware and on the lookout when driving.  Each year the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office responds to hundreds of vehicle vs. deer crashes.

deer

So far this year we have responded to 210 of these crashes.  In 2020 we responded to 441 of these crashes and in 2019 we responded to 438.  As a result, statistics from prior years tell us that there could be approximately 230 more vehicle vs. deer crashes just in the last 3 months of the year.

So what do you need to know to be prepared for driving on our highways during the upcoming months?  The first message I have is where there is one deer, there likely will be more.  Deer tend to travel together and just because one deer makes it across the road safely, does not mean more won’t try.

Many times when we respond to these crashes, this is the exact scenario we hear from drivers.  People tell us they never saw the next deer coming.  In fact, I have witnessed these crashes happen in front of me where one deer will make it through safely and the driver will let off the brakes and proceed only to have another deer jump out causing a crash.

Another tip we ask of you is to please avoid swerving.  If you go into the opposite lane of traffic you risk striking another vehicle.  If you go onto the shoulder, you risk losing control in the gravel and rolling your vehicle in the ditch.  Your best course of action is to simply apply the brakes quickly and stay in your lane.

Unfortunately, in recent years, we have also seen motorcycle vs. deer crashes.  I know many people who love to ride their motorcycles in the fall and it is beautiful, however, please remember to slow down and my recommendation is to avoid riding at dusk, dawn or during nighttime hours if possible.  Motorcycle vs. deer crashes usually do not end well and most often result in serious injury and unfortunately even fatal crashes.

Scanning the ditches as you drive is the best thing that you can do when driving, not only at this time of year but always.  Looking down the road, rather than at your phone or your radio could potentially save you thousands of dollars and a potential injury to you or your passengers.  Always watch the vehicles around you and scan for other obstacles like deer that may run into your path.

Finally, if you are involved in a crash with a deer, please feel free to call 911 to report it, especially if there are injuries or there is road blockage. In those situations, we want to get to you as quickly as possible.  If you are not injured and there is no road blockage and you are not comfortable calling 911, you can always call our non-emergency phone number to report the crash.

 

If there is an injured deer, please call us so we can respond as well.  If you have less than $1,000 damage to your car and there are no injuries at all, it is what we call a non-reportable crash.  You do not need a law enforcement report in those incidents.  Our professional dispatchers will always work through all of this with you if you call to talk to them.  Be careful and pay attention to those ditches as it is never fun to hit a deer while driving as we go about our day making Dodge County a great place to live, work and visit.

Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt

 

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