Friday, December 8, 2023


This is the time of day you’re most likely to hit a deer

It’s a nice evening. Not much traffic on the road. You are a bit tired after a long drive and looking forward to that next RV park for the night. Suddenly, a deer darts across the road followed by two more. You saw the “deer crossing” sign, so you are alert. You brake and, thankfully, no collision.

As an RVer, you most likely have seen your share of critters on the road. Hopefully, you have avoided any unpleasant critter collision(s). However, be aware. There are certain times when you are more likely to encounter a deer crossing the road.

When is “prime time” for deer-vehicle collisions?

Deer-vehicle collisions are more likely to occur at dusk or shortly afterward. In fact, the odds increase 14-fold during this time of day. In a study reported in Current Biology, scientists reviewed more than a million deer-vehicle collisions. 

Additionally, they found that within two hours after sunset, when switching from daylight saving to standard time, collisions increased 16 percent.

What are the costs incurred?

The study predicts that many deaths, both deer (36,550) and human (33), could be avoided by reducing the need for after-dark traffic. Plus, a year-round daylight saving time could help 2,054 folks dodge injuries sustained from a collision. All in all, savings could be in the $1.9 billion range.

How can you avoid deer-vehicle collisions?

Firstly, highway departments post deer crossing warning signs for a reason. Those denote that area is a known path for deer. Be particularly alert shortly after dusk up into later at night. 

Secondly, remember deer travel in herds. Where there is one, there are more. That single doe that dashed across the road may soon be followed by a few friends. When you see one on the road a long blast of your horn may dissuade others from jumping in front of you.

Finally, use your high beam headlight setting. This will reflect a deer’s eyes more readily as they graze the roadside. That gives you a chance to pay attention to the deer’s movement.

By the way, check with your insurance agent about coverage. Not all insurance companies will cover a deer-vehicle collision without certain provisions.

Stay alert, be safe out there, and happy travels.



Dale Wade
Dale Wade
Dale Wade is a Master Naturalist and a Master Gardener. He participates in many citizen science projects pertaining to learning and preserving all things nature.



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Tom S (@guest_210687)
1 year ago

One thing that should be mentioned is if you hit a deer etc drag it out of traffic if at all possible. I once drove over a deer someone had hit and left laying on a bridge in the middle of a moonless night. Made a very dangerous situation. That’s the hard way to skin a deer.

Gene Bjerke (@guest_210636)
1 year ago

My experience has been that we have had more deer run into us (hitting the side of the vehicle) than vice versa.

DW/ND (@guest_210624)
1 year ago

I’ve had two “close” encounters with deer. First one in the evening around 6:00pm when a doe jumped from the right ditch across the front of my car with her tail just touching my left fender!

The 2nd was on a two lane Mn hiway south-east of Grand Rapids, Mn…. in our 34′ class A motorhome! I came over a small hill at 55 mph and at the bottom – on the hiway center-line stood a doe feeding her fawn! There were three cars in the on-coming lane, also on a hill, not one flashed their lights or tried to warm on-coming traffic! I went by them at about 45 mph – neither of them moved! Whew! Still shaky when I think about that one.

warmonk (@guest_210615)
1 year ago

The four deer I’ve hit have all been in the early morning hours. For those who want to ask, three got up and walked away, one did not. In one case, damage to my vehicle was $1,400 and if you come across a deer with a GM bow-tie implant, that’s mine. I’ve never plowed into a deer at speed. Always had time to brake at least some.

As for not hitting deer, that happens regularly, so four hits isn’t a big number. But, around here we are always looking for them … morning, noon, and night. Deer can’t read or if they can they just ignore the deer crossing signs.

What I don’t want to hit is a moose. Generally, they come through the windshield ’cause of their height.

Don’t know of many bear/truck collisions. They’re pretty good at looking both ways before crossing. Haven’t seen any bear crossing signs so maybe they understand that they have to be more careful.

In British Columbia deer/vehicle damage is covered under comprehensive insurance same as fire, theft, and glass.

MevetS (@guest_210558)
1 year ago

Most frequent place to see deer crossing the road are in areas where woods are next to a field. Deer seem to like to run along those interfaces. They can dart for cover into the woods if running in the open. They do run in groups, most frequently in a family groups. Often young with mother. If you see one, you can probably count 80% of the time that a couple of younger ones will be sure to follow. Just stop and wait.

At least this seems to hold true in our corner of SW Michigan. And it’s not unusual to see them crossing in mid day and especially at day break, so nothing is impossible.

Judy Baratta (@guest_210529)
1 year ago

This article is a pitch for permanent DST using deer as an excuse.

Sharon N (@guest_210685)
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Baratta

And your point is?

cate (@guest_210686)
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Baratta

They tried DST during winter 1974. It lasted no time because people didn’t like having their children walk to school or driving to work in the dark.

DonnaJene (@guest_210528)
1 year ago

Our daughter-in-law’s job requires her to be at work at 5:00 a.m. In the past few years she has hit (or been hit by) 7 or 8 deer on her way to work. Most resulted in minor damage except for one small SUV that couldn’t be repaired. The hours just before sunrise are very dangerous!

Last edited 1 year ago by DonnaJene

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