Every year there are roughly 1.5 million deer-related car accidents resulting in hundreds of fatalities, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. Deer typically mate from October through December, resulting in a dramatic increase in the movement of the deer population. These months present an increased risk of collision as deer find their way onto highways and into suburban neighborhoods in search of a mate. The spring thaw also brings an increased number of deer-related collisions as deer become more active.
We’ve got five tips to help you prepare for this deer mating season; we hope these tips help to keep you and your family safe on the journey ahead:
1. Pay Close Attention to Road Shoulders at Dawn and at Dusk
Although deer collisions occur all hours of the day, deer are most active shortly before sunrise and just after sunset. Scan the shoulders of the road for glowing eyes and shadows, and be prepared to drive defensively.
2. Scan the Road for Deer Crossing Signs
Deer crossing signs are implemented for a reason, they signify that a particular area has heightened deer activity. Stay alert, slow down and don’t drive distracted.
3. Use High Beams, When Traffic Permits
If you are driving at night and there is no oncoming traffic, turn on your high beams to increase visibility. Your high beams will also help to illuminate the deer eyes, making them easier to spot.
4. One Deer Often Means More Deer
Deer often travel in small herds. If you spot one deer, others may be nearby. Be extremely cautious.
5. Brake, but don’t Swerve
This is vital. If you are going to collide with a deer you should brake firmly but stay in your lane. Most severe collisions occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and crash into another vehicle or lose control of their car.
6. Blow Your Horn
Do not rely on deer-deterring devices such as whistles or reflectors as they have not been proven to reduce deer collisions. Instead, honk your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
If you do collide with a deer, be sure you never touch the animal. A frightened deer could hurt you or further injure itself. You should try to get your car off the road and if possible, notify the police.