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With fall colors comes the risk of deer collisions

As summer drifts into fall here in Knoxville and the evenings become cooler, the trees begin to take on their marvelous colors. Whether you drive up to the Great Smokey Mountains or down I-75 to visit relatives in Chattanooga, the trees remind you that the season is changing and winter is on its way.

With fall, in addition to the colors, comes another annual event; that of the mating season for deer here in Eastern Tennessee. For some, that means hunting season and blaze orange, but for everyone it should mean caution.

In Knox County last year, there were 84 collisions between deer and motor vehicles. This year, there have only been 46, so we can expect almost as many car accidents involving deer between now and the end of the year as we had in the first nine months.

Mating season means the deer are on the move and less predictable, but there are some things you can do to prevent the adding to the statistics.

Being aware is very important, especially if you are on the road near dawn or dusk, as this is a prime time for deer activity. Pay attention to the wooded areas along roads or fields, and if you see one or two deer, slow down and remain vigilant. Chances are there may be an entire herd in the vicinity.

If a deer crosses your path and a collision is unavoidable, brake and steady the wheel. While you may be tempted to try evasive action, sudden changes in direction could cause your vehicle to become unstable or led you into the other lane and oncoming traffic, leading to a far more severe and potentially deadly accident.

A little caution can go a long ways to preventing your suffering property damage or a personal injury resulting from a deer-car collision.

tn.gov, "Crash Data," accessed October 8, 2014

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