New road signs are warning some Illinois drivers about deer that apparently have a death wish.
It’s unlikely that deer in Paxton County, Illinois suffer psychological issues to any greater or lesser degree than any other deer in the country. And while Button Township Highway Commissioner Ron Hilligoss probably agrees with that assessment, the new road signs he purchased might suggest a different analysis.
The Ford County Record reported that a yellow road sign installed south of the rural intersection of county roads 2250 East and 200 North reads “Suicidal Deer: Next 5 Miles.” The sign looks in all other respects to a typical yellow “Deer Crossing” warning sign, complete with bounding deer silhouette.
The text, however, is what catches, or is intended to catch a driver’s eye.
“My nephew sent me a picture of one of these signs out in Colorado about six months ago. He texted it to me, and I thought it was really a good thing because it gets your attention,” Hilligoss said. “So we had a Ford County Highway Department meeting and I said, ‘Can you get me these signs?’”
Ford County, north of the city of Champaign, had a recorded 33 vehicle vs. deer collisions last year, 2015. It is hoped that the humorous signs will compel drivers to drive with increased awareness and caution on the rural roads where many of the accidents occurred.
The highway department purchased four signs but thus far has only installed one. “I’m just waiting to see who puts bullet holes in it or steals it,” Hilligoss said, before deciding when and where to install the remaining signs.
The sign has been up for more than six weeks and seems to be serving its purpose, as there are no reported vehicle vs. deer collisions so far this year.
Vehicle vs. deer collisions are a huge problem throughout the country. While the number of vehicle vs. animal collisions varies from year to year, it is often well over a million, and results in billions of dollars worth of damage, as well as hundreds of human lives lost.
Michigan, for example, suffers from close to 50,000 such collisions every year. That’s around 125 crashes every day.
“A lot of people see it,” Hilligoss said. “If you ask anybody where a deer crossing sign is, they couldn’t tell you, but they know where that one is at. It’s just nice to see something that constantly reminds you that there are deer running out there.”
Images via Ford County Record