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St. Cloud, Minnesota

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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Deer are on the Roads: Watch Out!

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This time of year the deer are out and about on Minnesota roads. They are big animals and cause a lot of damage and many times additional injury as a result of any collision. The best way to avoid a collision is to watch your speed, keep a good look out , and just drive while you are driving.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently pointed out the need not to veer. “You can reduce the severity of the outcome,” said Lt. Jody Skogen, safety and education officer with the North Dakota State Patrol. “Your vehicle can be unforgiving if you jerk too hard, and it can cause a rollover. The deer strike is far less serious than if you overreact and go into a rollover.”

October and November are the highest months for deer collisions in this area of the country. The GazetteExtra.com had the following safety suggestions:

– Stay in your lane and out of the hospital: As much as you don’t want to hit the deer, don’t swerve to miss it, Pierce said.

Most serious injuries happen when a driver swerves and strikes a tree or utility pole. Or people swerve into the ditch and end up rolling their vehicles.

Also—this should be obvious—wear your seat belt. It can drastically reduce your chance of serious injury.

– Pay attention: The state Department of Natural Resources doesn’t randomly choose where it’s going to put those deer crossing signs. Placement is based on accident numbers and known deer patterns.

If you see a deer in the road, brake firmly and blow your horn.

Finally, it shouldn’t surprise you that the singular of deer is the same as the plural. If you see one deer, there’s going to be more, Pierce said.

– Reduce interior lighting: If you can reduce the brightness of your instrument panel, do so.

"Dimming you interior lights will help you see better outside at night," Pierce said.

E-readers, hand-held video games and portable DVDs can shed a distracting glow, especially if the user is in the front passenger seat.

– Don’t bother with gadgets: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has studied deer whistles and determined they have no effect whatsoever.

– Alter your schedule to suit the deer: We’re only kidding about this one, but Department of Transportation records show that deer move at different hours of the day depending on the time of year.

Car-deer crashes in 2010 were most likely to occur between 5 and 8 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and midnight from October to January; between 5 and 7 a.m. from March to June; and between 8 p.m. and midnight from April to August.

While there is no liability claim for the driver of the car, he or she is covered for Minnesota No Fault Benefits. These benefits are paid in the same manner that they would be paid in any Minnesota motor vehicle collision. Passengers may still have a claim for liability depending on the facts of the collision. It is important that these cases be investigated early by an attorney who does this type of work.