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Drivers beware: This is peak season for deer-vehicle crashes

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 16 2013 04:21:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 16 2013 04:44:47 PM CDT

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are issuing a warning for drivers to beware.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are issuing a warning for drivers to beware.

Deer are on the move, causing concern for anyone hitting the road, and a new report has Pennsylvania leading the herd in deer-related crashes.

"It dented all through my hood, and the light was still here, but it was cracked with hair stuck through it," said Nikki Whitaker, who knows all too well what can happen when a deer gallops right into traffic.

Whitaker was driving last year when a doe landed on top of her hood.

"We seen a bunch of deer going across the road but we thought they all went across, but one did not go across yet," said Whitaker.

On Saturday, a man from New York City was killed in a terrifying wreck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Washington Twp., Lehigh Co. Jack Kodesh, 35, died after the deer crashed through the windshield of his car and wound up in the back seat.

Police said the vehicle then crashed into the center concrete barrier before crossing onto a grass embankment, jumping over a fence and landing in a wooded area.

"Like, you can't do much. It's pretty quick," said Jimmy Burgess, who hit a deer a few years ago.

Game commission officials said deer-related crashes spike October through December because of breeding season.

According to State Farm Insurance, Pennsylvania leads the nation, and the crashes cost drivers hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

"Motorists in Berks County can encounter deer just about everywhere," said Wildlife conservation Ofc. Dave Brockmeier.

Last year, the Department of Transportation said 119 deer-related crashes were reported in Berks County.

Drivers are being warned to be alert and look for deer crossing signs. Officials said use your horn, use your high-beams and slow down to scare the deer. Also, look for groups, because when there is one, others are likely nearby.    

"During the dusk and dawn hours, in particular, motorists be aware. There's a likelihood they may encounter deer on our roadways," said Brockmeier.

Officials said never swerve to avoid a deer because you can lose control of your vehicle and strike another vehicle or object. Instead, they said lower your speed and always wear a seat belt.