FAYETTE COUNTY — A significant number of deer-related accidents occurred over the last couple weeks, according to authorities, including one crash on US Route 62 North on Election Day that backed up traffic during a peak voting time.
The Tuesday accident on US 62 between a vehicle and a deer happened about a half-mile outside of Madison Mills around 6:20 p.m., said Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. Several motorists backed up in traffic at the time were heading to the Madison Mills polling location to vote.
There were no serious injuries reported in the accident.
“For a reported injury accident, you have multiple emergency vehicles on the scene, EMS, law enforcement vehicles, volunteer firefighters, etc.,” said Stanforth. “These types of scenes become congested on the roadway, and in this instance it was about an hour before the polls closed. I spoke with a poll worker in Madison Mills who said that after traffic was able to move along, about 15 to 20 people who were in the traffic pulled into the polling place to vote. Everyone was able to vote with no issues.”
Also on Tuesday, there was an accident on US 35 involving a deer and out-of-town ambulance. These are just two examples of an increase in deer-related accidents over the past couple of weeks.
Stanforth is asking the community to stay vigilant, especially with the combination of harvest, the end of daylight saving time, and the beginning of hunting season. Nearly 40,000 deer are struck and killed each year by drivers feeling the effects of resetting clocks one hour backward each fall, according to a study published in “Current Biology.”
“The deer are not going to be looking out for you, they don’t have that capacity. They don’t have the fear of cars coming down the roadway and they also may not see the car coming down the road,” said Stanforth. “It’s incumbent upon the driver to be vigilant. The best advice is to make sure your headlights are on at night, especially since we’re getting darker earlier. The deer don’t have daylight saving time. They are out milling around, and it’s going to be hunting season soon, which means the deer are going to be running around even more.”
Stanforth advised motorists to drive at or even below the speed limit.
“That gives you a better reaction time when a deer comes out of a ditch or a field,” he said. “If you’re traveling too fast, you’re not going to be able to react in time to avoid a deer, it will be right on top of you.”