Thanksgiving travel reminder to watch for deer on the highway - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Thanksgiving travel reminder to watch for deer on the highway

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

A reminder for families traveling this Thanksgiving -- watch out for deer on the roadways. KWWL's Colleen O'Shaughnessy experienced first-hand how dangerous the highway can be around dusk. Now she's learning what you need to know to keep yourself and your family safe:

Imagine -- you're driving down the highway. You look to the right, and see a deer in the field. The next thing you know, your windshield seems to explode before your eyes. That's what happened to me and my husband Sunday night.

Last year more than 10,000 Iowans went through what we experienced last night. But after that accident, statistics don't seem that important. What matters is that my husband and I walked away from the accident alive.

"I'm sure a person could get killed from it. You get a deer coming through the windshield at 60, 70 miles per hour. Glass in the eyes, concussions," said Ken Marks, the owner of the towing company which picked up our car.

The 10-point buck which hit our car weighed somewhere between 220 and 250 pounds. When you hit it driving 65 miles per hour it causes major damage.

"$3,000 to $5,000 is a pretty good guess. Yours might even be more because you're up in the roof, roof damage," said Marks.

Joe Wilkinson, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said it's an accident you can't entirely prevent. However, you can stay vigilant.

"Try to look ahead to those funnel points where a fence leads up to a road, where a creek leads up to the road, where a big tree line leads up to the road. Those are going to be more likely crossing places," said Wilkinson.

Deer tend to move in the early evening hours. So if you know they're around, slow down.

"That's what I do in heavy deer areas. I'll slow down five, six miles per hour. It might not be much, but it's a little bit," Wilkinson added.

It might take longer to get to your family gathering. But at least you'll get there safely.

Senator Charles Grassley commented on Twitter Sunday night, saying he'd like to see a longer deer hunting season to cut down on these types of crashes. Wilkinson believes the nearly five-month fall deer hunting season is long enough -- in fact, in the past eight years, the number of deer-related crashes has dropped from 15,361 to 10,626.

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