Driving this season isn’t without risk

Published 9:00 am Sunday, December 14, 2014

Families First by Maryanne Law


Driving includes all kinds of seasonal risks; are there any specific risks during the fall season?

Maryanne Law

Maryanne Law

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Fall is breeding season for deer in Minnesota, so all motorists need to be alert because more deer are on the move — and motorcyclists are at the greatest risk.

Seventeen of Minnesota’s 18 deer-vehicle crash fatalities from 2011-2013 were motorcyclists. Out of the 7,010 deer-vehicle crashes reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety during those three years, there were 68 serious injuries, of which 64 were motorcyclists. One of those injury statistics was one of my family members who hit a deer on his motorcycle while riding between LeRoy and Adams in 2011. Thankfully he was wearing his helmet and full leathers and the crash resulted in a shoulder injury and a lot of road burn, not a fatality.

My husband and I will be one of the 2014 deer-vehicle crash statistics. A few weeks ago, while driving after dusk near Blooming Prairie on Highway 218, a deer managed to total two cars, hitting a car traveling south and then our car traveling north. Thankfully, again, all of us walked away without injuries amid a lot of shattered glass and smashed metal because we were wearing our seat belts. Very, very sadly, the teen of one of the drivers had been a fatality in a deer-vehicle collision a few years earlier.

The general motorist safety tips pertaining to deer include: 1) Watch for deer during dawn and dusk when most deer-vehicle crashes occur; 2) Deer are herd animals; if you see one, there are likely more in the area; 3) Don’t veer for deer; it’s safer to hit the deer than to head into oncoming traffic or off the road; 4) Deer are unpredictable; slow down, blow your horn and stop if the deer stays on the road.

If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child raising call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204. Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org and the Safe Roads web page.


Maryanne Law is the executive director of the Parenting Resource Center in Austin.