It's easy to laugh off the idea of amorous deer chasing each other through the woods during their November mating season.
Easy, that is, until a 250-pound buck comes crashing through your windshield. With antlers.
Six Illinoisans died in deer-vehicle crashes in 2011, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Statewide, 18,039 deer-vehicle crashes occurred; of those, 554 were in Cook County and 360 in Lake County.
Don't believe it? Check out the 33-second YouTube video attached to this article.
Be especially alert at dawn and dusk
As (bad) luck would have it, the peak hours for bucks to be on the prowl for sexy does coincide with peak traffic times during the morning and evening commutes.
Sgt. Robert Tornabene of the Niles Police Department warned motorists to be especially alert around dawn and dusk hours, and, it stands to reason, near the forest preserves that wind through the suburbs.
“Deer are on the move and unpredictable during this season,” he said. “Deer are much more likely to cross into roadways without warning at this time of year. Drivers should be extra alert to avoid collisions."
Stags so lovesick they're 'not thinking straight'
USA Today quoted a biologist who said male deer are so focused on mating that they're not thinking straight. This will not surprise humans who frequent singles bars, but the difference is that deer may not have their normal fear of stepping out into moving traffic.
To protect yourself:
- Watch for deer standing close to roadways. They may bolt out, stop in the middle of the roadway, cross and then cross back again, according to the Niles Police Department.
- If a deer is on the side of the road, go very slowly, because there are usually more deer nearby. You may need to flash your lights or honk your horn to frighten the deer away, Car and Driver said.
- If a deer is in the middle of the road, brake and stop, Car and Driver advises. Don't swerve, as the animal won't know which way to run to avoid colliding with your vehicle.
- If you do hit a deer, call police immediately but do not attempt to touch the deer, as an injured animal can bolt and harm you, multiple sources say.