TheTennessee Highway Patrol is warning motorists to watch out for deer.

Aspart of its traffic safety education campaign, the Tennessee Highway Patrol isreminding motorists to be vigilant of deer on the roadways. The fall is themost active time of the year for deer due to mating and hunting season, andState Troopers caution that an increase in deer-related crashes is likelythrough December.

"As the weather turns colder, the chances ofseeing deer on or near our roadways increase dramatically," said THP ColonelTracy Trott. "November is usually the worst month for deer-related crashes. Wewant to remind all motorists to be especially alert at dawn and after sunset,and to exercise extra caution when not traveling on major thoroughfares."

InTennessee, between 2006 and 2010, 9.2 percent of deer-related crashes occurredon interstate highways.  In2010, there were 5,406 deer-related crashes, including 281 that involvedinjuries and one that was fatal. That was up by 1.6 percent from 5,320 theprevious year. However, since 2006, deer-related crashes in Tennessee havedecreased 7.7 percent.  

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security andthe Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has the following tips to help preventdeer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

  • Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to moveat dawn and dusk.
  • Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow.  Many times, the second or third deer crossingbecomes the one that motorists hit.
  • Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside,especially at daybreak and dusk.
  • Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicleto flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swervingalso can confuse the deer as to where to run.
  • When you spot a deer, slow down immediately.  Proceed slowly until you pass that point.
  • If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal.  They are powerful and can cause bodily harmto a human.  Report any deer collision,even if the damage is minor.

In the event of a deer crash, move the vehicle asfar off the road as possible, and dial *THP (*847) from an available cell phonefor assistance. The call will be connected to the nearest THP CommunicationsCenter and a State Trooper will be dispatched to the location.

Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision tobe taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regionaloffice to report the accident within 48 hours. For TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA websiteat