Drivers should be alert for deer with crashes expected to rise in late spring

Release date: May 11, 2023

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reminds drivers to keep an eye out for deer on the roads in the coming weeks to avoid potentially dangerous crashes.

Deer crash numbers typically increase in May and June in Wisconsin when does look for places to give birth and young deer separate from their mothers.

“Deer become more active at the same time as people do. When you start heading out for spring and summer travel, expect to see deer trying to cross highways. They can be unpredictable so drivers should always carefully scan the sides of the road ahead, buckle up, and put the phone down,” Bureau of Transportation Safety Director David Pabst said.

There were more than 16,000 crashes involving deer in Wisconsin in 2022. Preliminary numbers show five people were killed and more than 500 were hurt in those incidents. Staying alert is an important step to stay safe this time of year and in fall when crash numbers are even higher.

Most deer crashes happen in the early morning and evening hours. Be sure to use your headlights as daylight transitions to dusk and deer become more difficult to see.

How to avoid hitting a deer

Slow down, eliminate distractions, and make sure everyone is buckled up. Crash injuries are less severe or can be avoided when everyone wears a seat belt.

Scan the road ahead carefully. If one deer crosses, watch for more. Honk your horn to frighten away any other animals.

If you can’t avoid hitting a deer, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Avoid sudden swerving, which can result in a loss of control of the vehicle and a more serious crash.

Motorcyclists are at a greater risk of injury in a crash involving a deer. Motorcyclists should slow down, brake firmly and swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. Try to stay in your lane, if possible, to avoid hitting other objects or vehicles.

What to do after a deer crash

If you do end up hitting a deer, get your vehicle safely off the road, if possible.

  • If someone is hurt, or the deer is in the active portion of the road, call 911.
  • If your vehicle and deer are off the road, also contact 911. 
  • Stay buckled up inside your vehicle and wait for help. Getting out of your vehicle and walking along a highway is always dangerous. Never attempt to move an injured deer.​

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581,