An Owatonna Police officer can offer personal advice on what to do, and not to do, when encountering deer on the road while behind the wheel. And experts say, "Don't Veer for Deer," even if crashing into one is the only other option.

The Owatonna Police Department (OPD) Just the Facts newsletter reports of such an incident for one of their offers recently, "three or four deer crossed the W. Frontage Road right in front (of) an officer who was unable to stop in time and resulted in a crash."

Owatonna Police Department photo

This view is from a video still frame from the squad car involved in the crash, moments before the collision.

In Just the Facts, the OPD shares suggestions from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety on what to do when you encounter deer while driving and how to lessen the chance of running into one.

  • Drive safe speeds and wear you seat belt.
  • Be even more attentive between 6 and 9 pm when deer are traditional more active.
White-tailed deer buck along the edge of the woods
  • Use you high beam headlights as much as you can.
Car in autumn
  • Don't swerve to avoid hitting a deer, "Swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic," the newsletter states.
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM
  • Deer are unpredictable, "They stop in the middle of the road when crossing; cross and quickly re-cross back; and move toward an approaching vehicle. Blow your horn to urge deer to leave the road. Stop if the deer stays on the road, don't try to go around it."
(PHOTO) Laura Bradshaw
(PHOTO) Laura Bradshaw

I have personally hit a deer twice. One time I never even saw it. It may have been around dusk. As I crossed paths with another vehicle, a deer somehow ran between us and bounced off both vehicles and was killed. My car suffered a minor amount of damage. Although the cost to repair still surprised me.

A second time early in the morning, but after sunrise, occurred as I saw the deer entering the roadway from my right. I slowed down and tapped it with my front bumper. The deer scampered off and my car seemed to worse for the wear.

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