CUSTER COUNTY—Like it or not, deer are an active part of the Custer County population—often to the enjoyment of hunters and the frustration of motorists. As the days get shorter and rutting season approaches, Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond shares a variety of safety tips with a common theme: slow down and pay attention.
“I don’t think deer ever give us a break! But with harvest time you definitely have all the corn getting picked and soybeans and stuff so the deer get kicked out of the field a little bit and it seems like they are out on the highways a little bit more,” Sheriff Osmond told KCNI/KBBN.
As any driver in central Nebraska can attest to, deer are everywhere and if there is one, there are usually others close by with their movement peaking each day near dawn and dusk. Sheriff Osmond emphasizes the importance of slowing down, paying attention, and turning on your headlights.
“Just paying attention when you’re driving down the road, right? Distracted driving is always a big topic of conversation—making sure you’re looking out the windshield and maybe not at the phone or someone else in the car. It seems to be a concept that eludes a number of us when we’re in our vehicles. That’s probably the biggest thing: just paying attention to what you’re doing. You’re there to drive and your phone can wait. I know it’s hard and we have that with us all the time, it seems to rule our lives now. But when you’re driving you should pay attention to what you’re doing,” Sheriff Osmond said.
If you do hit a deer, he reminds drivers to maintain control and safely slow down—not to slam on the brakes—and get your car to a safe place off to the side of the road. He says to turn on the hazard lights and carefully exit your vehicle to assess the damage. Call 9-1-1 if necessary or the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 308-872-6418 to report the issue and let them know your car is on the side of the road.
Click here for more safety tips from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to avoid collisions with deer:
As harvest season continues, Sheriff Osmond reiterates the always appropriate advice of slowing down and paying attention. Drivers of combines, tractors, and grain trucks are out there doing their job and he reminds other motorists to give them room and patience.
“Just a little bit of patience, a little bit of paying attention can make all the difference,” Sheriff Osmond said.
Trick-or-Treating activities and other spooky celebrations mean young children will be out and about on Halloween night (Monday, October 31). Sheriff Osmond encourages drivers to be alert and to slow down, especially in residential areas. Dress your kids in costumes that are easy for them to walk in and add something reflective to their costumes like lights or glow sticks.
In a 2019 interview with KCNI/KBBN, he also advises that your little ghosts and goblins stay in well-lit areas, stick to a safe route, avoid costumes/masks/props that could cause kids to trip, and for parents to thoroughly go through the loot bags to make sure candy is safe and unopened.
The transition into winter will be here before we know it and Sheriff Osmond says it is important to start preparing for winter weather: put your ice scraper in your vehicle, keep emergency snacks on hand, and check your tires.