How to avoid an accident as deer enter fall mating season

The chances of hitting a deer while driving more than doubles during the October-December months of mating season.

Here are tips to avoiding deer-vehicle collisions.

  1. Stay alert and keep your eyes up. Pay attention to “deer crossing” signs. Scan down the road and off to each side. Be especially watchful in areas near woods and water. If you see one deer, there are probably others nearby.
  2. Avoid distractions, which could cause you to miss seeing a large animal or other object in your path.
  3. Be especially vigilant during peak season. Collisions can happen any time of year, but fall is peak time for crashes because it’s both hunting and mating seasons, forcing deer to roam outside their normal territory.
  4. Use headlights smartly. Use high-beams at night when possible to illuminate the road’s edges. If you see a deer far ahead, flick the brights on and off multiple times. Deer tend to fixate on headlights, so flashing them may cause the animal to scurry away.
  5. Watch out at mealtime. Between dusk and dawn animals usually venture out to eat.
  6. Brake as necessary. If you think you have time to avoid hitting the animal, reduce speed, tap the brakes to warn drivers behind you, and sound your horn. If there’s no vehicle close behind you, brake hard.
  7. Don’t swerve. If a collision seems inevitable, don’t veer off to avoid the animal. Don’t risk putting yourself in a worse situation.
  8. Always obey speed limits and wear seat belts
  9. If you hit a deer move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible, then position yourself and any other people involved in the crash in a safe location until help arrives.
  10. Never approach an injured animal. A hurt, scared animal poses serious threats to people. Only those with special training should attempt to help. Do not take the animal home or try and dispose of it yourself. In some states you may obtain a road kill possession and/or salvage permit. Know the laws in your state. Most often you can find these with the Department of Fish and Wildlife or the Department of Natural Resources.
  11. Report the crash if you have one. Contact police and your insurance company, providing as much detail as possible, including photos if you can. Please reach out for more information, data clarification or local interview needs

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