Williams County — Motor vehicle crashes involving deer typically peak during the fall months and the county’s most recent crash data indicates that trend continued in 2020.
Williams County Safe Communities Coalition members reviewed animal crash density mapping statistics for 2016-2020 at their November 4th coalition meeting.
Traffic Crash Data over a five-year period from 2016-2020 was compiled by Travis Jones, GIS Analyst, Maumee Valley Planning Organization.
At the coalition meeting, Jones reported that most of our deer related crashes are property related only and occur on dark, not lighted roadways during the early morning hours and at night.
The top two road segments in Williams County for deer related crashes over the last five years are on SR 34 at CR 13 to CR D-50 northwest of Bryan and SR 576 at CR M to CR 11 north of Montpelier. Of the counties in northwest Ohio, Williams County recorded the most deer related crashes over these last 5 years.
According to Ohio State Highway Patrol statistics in 2020, Williams County had 410 deer-related crashes with 1,994 deer crashes over the 5-year period.
Once again Ohio drivers are urged to drive with caution especially during the month of November, the leading month for deer-vehicle crashes in the state.
The dawn and dusk hours are the most likely times for deer-involved crashes with 25% pf crashes occurring between 5:00 a.m. and 7:59 a.m. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol statistics 6:00 a.m. is when the most deer/vehicle collisions occurred in Williams County.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies urge drivers to buckle up, stay alert and avoid distractions while driving.
Williams County Safe Communities Coalition offers the following tips for lowering the risk of a crash with a deer:
•Always wear a seat belt. Proper restraint offers the best protection from injuries in the event of a crash.
•Slow down. Drivers should reduce speed in areas with large deer populations, such as wooded or farmland areas, and particularly where deer warning signs are posted.
•Watch for eyes reflecting from headlights. Try to look far down the road and scan the roadsides, especially when driving through field edges, heavily wooded areas or posted deer crossing areas.
The sooner you see a deer on or approaching a road, the better the chances of avoiding a crash. Using high beam headlights at night when there is no approaching traffic will make it easier to spot deer.
•Remember that deer travel in herds. If one deer crosses the road in front of you, don’t assume that all is clear. Deer herds can be large, and the animals often move one right behind the other.
•Maintain control of your vehicle. It is important to not lose control of your vehicle or veer into the path of an oncoming vehicle to avoid contact with an animal.
Loss of control usually results in a more serious crash. It is safer to hit the deer while maintaining control than hitting another vehicle.
The Ohio Highway State Patrol advises drivers who are in a crash with a deer, or any large animal, to avoid putting themselves in further danger by attempting to remove the animal carcass.
Motorists are advised to pull over to a safe location off the roadway, turn on your hazard lights and dial 911 and wait for help to arrive.