Police warning for drivers: Don’t veer for deer

It may not be your first instinct, but officers with the Iowa State Patrol say "don't veer for deer."

Deer are more likely to cause a crash than any other animal, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation's driving manual.  When a deer runs out in front of a car, the manual says that if the driver "hits the animal and avoids swerving into oncoming traffic" the driver is less likely to get seriously hurt.

According to the Iowa DOT manual, October and November are peak months for collisions with deer.

Sgt. Nathan Ludwig, with the Iowa State Patrol, said being aware that deer are out there can also help prevent a crash.

"If you expect to see a deer... it won't be as surprising," said Sgt. Ludwig.  He said the best way to handle a deer in your path is to keep both hands on the wheel and be prepared to break hard.

Watch: Adorable baby deer refuses to leave man who saved her life 

"Don't veer for deer," he said, "just because of the consequences of what could happen."  He noted that officers have seen a lot of fatalities in 2016 because of cars driving off the roadway, over-correcting and losing control.

In 2014, there were 6,289 crashes involving deer in Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.  Three of those collisions were fatal.

In that same year, Illinois saw 15,356 crashes involving deer; four of those were fatal, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.   Rock Island County and Fulton County were listed in the state's top ten counties where crashes involving deer happen.

Sgt. Ludwig said that early fall is a good time to check with your insurance agent in preparation for the season, to see what kind of coverage you can expect in case of a collision with a deer.

Read More: Woman fears for her safety as deer keeps trying to attack her