Why did deer collisions go up in Ohio last year?

Peak months are October to December
Posted at 3:18 PM, Sep 19, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Autumn means lots of things to different people. For some, it's comfy campfires and flannel scarves. For others, it's apple picking and Halloween.

Unless you're a deer. Then autumn means you're looking for love, and you're getting frisky.

And that can be dangerous -- even deadly -- for drivers.

In Ohio, deer collisions increased 7 percent last year compared to 2014. Four people died, and 801 were injured.

Need another reason to be careful? Two of the top five counties for deer-vehicle collisions were right here in southwest Ohio.

According to the Ohio Insurance Institute, the state had 21,061 deer-vehicle crashes in 2015, the most since 2011.

Hamilton County tied for second-most crashes, at 527, and Clermont County was fifth, with 491. Both counties also had more deer-vehicle collisions in 2015 than 2014.

The increase might be simply a result of people driving more: The Ohio Department of Public Safety found a 7-percent increase in overall crashes last year compared with 2014. And the Federal Highway Administration found Ohio drivers logged more miles from October 2015 to January 2016 compared to the prior year, too.

Still, according to Bankrate, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana weren't among the top 10 states nationally where drivers are at risk of hitting a deer. West Virginia topped that list, where a driver stands a 1 in 44 chance of hitting one.

WATCH: Police dashcam captures wild deer strike

Most deer-vehicle crashes occur at dusk and dawn, and last year's data from Ohio officials show they peaked in November.

The best tips to avoid a hitting a deer:

  • Be extra cautious during peak deer activity hours, around dawn and dusk.
  • If you spot one deer, there are probably more nearby.
  • Use your high beams at night when there's no other traffic around.
  • If you spot a deer near the road, slow down and blast your horn.
  • Brake when you notice a deer in the road, but don't swerve: That can lead to an even more serious crash.
  • Wear your seat belt (this goes for any season, really).
  • Don't rely on deer whistles, deer fences or reflectors; according to the Insurance Information Institute, there's no reliable evidence they work.