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Buck

If a driver hits a deer, the state Department of Transportation says law enforcement should be called to file a report.

Q: What should I do if I hit a deer on the road?

A: Although the peak number of collisions between vehicles and deer was in November, deer are certainly still out and can pass in front of your car while driving.

State Department of Transportation safety programs chief Randy Romanski said a driver should move off the roadway if possible and call law enforcement. Drivers should not try to move an injured or dead deer.

Law enforcement should be called because they can remove a deer that may be blocking traffic and can file an official report if there is injury or property damage, Romanski said.

The DOT also recommends staying inside your vehicle instead of walking along the highway.

Deer can run out onto the road from a variety of areas, including fields and forests, Romanski said. But edge areas where fields and forests meet are particularly likely to have deer around.

“The best way for motorists to protect themselves and avoid hitting a deer is to buckle up, slow down and carefully scan the road ahead,” Romanski said.

With the exception of motorcyclists, if a deer does run out in front of your vehicle, the DOT urges drivers not to swerve, as swerving could cause a driver to lose control and hit other vehicles or stationary objects, such as trees and poles. Instead, drivers should hit the brakes and collide with the deer.

Motorcyclists should “brake firmly and swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer,” the DOT says.

Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported more than 20,000 crashes between a deer and a vehicle in 2016. Dane County reported the most collisions with more than 1,000.

— Shelley K. Mesch

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.