Sheriff promotes caution as deer are on the move

Published 4:00 pm Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Austin area is in the middle of deer-vehicle crash season, and with the possibility of hitting deer comes the possibility of significant bodily injury.

“(Deer) are everywhere, so be watchful of the eyes in the ditches,” Sheriff Terese Amazi said. “And if you’re going to hit a deer, hit it. Do not swerve to try to miss it. You can lose control of your vehicle.”

Amazi said many motorists want to swerve when they encounter a deer in the road, but swerving can cause a vehicle to run into oncoming traffic or roll from loss of control. She said hitting a deer head-on usually causes significantly fewer injuries than when a driver tries to avoid it.

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“Typically your vehicle is designed for those front-end crashes and injuries are usually minimal,” Amazi said. “However, if you steer to try to avoid the deer and roll your vehicle your risk of substantial injury increases.”

The Department of Public Safety urges motorists to drive at safe speeds, wear their seat belts and be prepared and alert for deer, particularly between dusk and dawn.

Amazi said that if a driver hits a deer they can call dispatch and a deputy will move the deer unless it is not a traffic hazard.