ST. GEORGE – An encounter between two emergency dispatchers and a deer while driving on state Route 18 earlier this week led to St. George Police teaming up with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for a video on what to do if you hit a deer.
The Police Department responds to a handful of deer-versus-auto calls during the year, St. George Police officer Lona Trombley said, adding the dispatchers involved in the accident were able to walk away unharmed.
Deer may either be attempting to cross the road or be standing in the roadway when unsuspecting motorists encounter them.
“It does cause significant issues,” Trombley said, adding that is a reason the video was made.
The video, which was posted to the St. George Police Facebook page Thursday, features St. George Police Sgt. Heidi Palmer and DWR conservation officer Joshua Carver.
“We’ve had quite a few incidents happen on the roadway with traffic and deer crossing our roads,” Palmer said.
In the video, Palmer asked Carver what a driver should do if they hit a deer on the road. Carver recommended the following steps:
- Slow down and pull over.
- Turn on the car’s hazard lights.
- Report the incident by calling dispatch or 911.
In cases where the deer may still be alive and needs to be put down, Carver said DWR prefers that the authorities be the ones to do it.
“We really discourage people putting down the deer,” he said, adding this is especially true if it involves discharging a firearm near a roadway with passing traffic.
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The Wild Aware Utah website suggests staying away from the injured animal and letting responding police or conservation officers handle it instead.
Areas in St. George where motorists may encounter deer include SR-18 between the Snow Canyon Parkway intersection and The Ledges development (the city limits end there), along and near the Virgin River, along parts of Red Hills Parkway through the connection to SR-18 and wilderness areas in general.
To avoid running into a deer, the insurance company Nationwide recommends being mindful of areas where deer crossing signs are present – especially during dusk and dawn when deer are most active.
Motorists are also advised to use their high beams when possible in order to spot deer at a distance.
Avoiding the urge to swerve to avoid the deer is also recommended. Instead, Nationwide suggest that motorists stay in their lane and slow down. Swerving to avoid the deer has the possibility of running into oncoming traffic or over-correcting, which can lead to potentially losing control of the vehicle.
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