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Deer mating season increases Illinois’ vehicle crash danger

Illinois officials want to remind you to take extra care looking out for deer on the road in these colder months.
Adult White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ transportation chief is warning motorists to be alert for deer on roadways during their mating season.

Transportation Secretary Omer Osman says above all, “Don’t veer for deer.” The first instinct when bearing down on a deer in the road is to swerve. But Osman says that could make a driver lose control and increase a crash’s severity.

Osman and the Transportation Department urge motorists to be aware of surroundings and pay attention to deer-crossing signs. Watch roadsides for “eye shine” — deer eyes reflecting headlights. Prepare for the unexpected because deer travel in groups and might stop in a roadway. And if a collision is inevitable, avoid swerving into a lane with oncoming traffic.

There were more than 15,600 deer-vehicle crashes in Illinois last year.