Officials warn drivers to be careful for deer on Tennessee roads

November marks the peak for deer-related crashes
Posted at 11:16 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 14:26:35-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As of Tuesday, records show 4,485 drivers have been involved in a deer-related crash this year on Tennessee roads.

It's a number that's expected to climb quickly now that we've entered November, known as the peak season for deer crashes.

Data from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security shows Montgomery County reports the highest number of deer crashes in the state — averaging more than 300 per year.

But drivers in every county need to be on the lookout. Compared to an average of the other 11 months, deer crashes more than triple statewide in November.

Officials say that's because it's mating season and deer are moving around more than usual.

"Look for their eyes to glow on the side of the roadway and watch for them to be on the roadway," said THP Lt. Bill Miller, "they're not thinking about anything else right now. Their minds are oblivious to what's going on around them. They will run out in front of you and you will not have a lot of time to react."

He says there are ways drivers can minimize the potential for a crash:

  • Be aware of your surroundings especially at dawn and dusk. And if you see one deer, expect more to follow
  • Slow down immediately
  • Leave a bigger buffer between you and other cars in case someone needs to brake
  • Never swerve to avoid a deer, which can cause you to flip or slam into other traffic
  • And never approach an animal after a crash — they could badly hurt you. Call it in immediately.

"This is a strong, solid muscular animal," Lt. Miller said, "and they can cause extensive vehicle damage, whether it be minor or total the vehicle. And they can cause injury or death."