10/12/2018 - Be Cautious on Roadways as Deer Mating Season Begins and Days Get Shorter
Motorists are reminded to drive with extra caution and watch for deer during the mating season (the rut) as darkness arrives earlier. The rutting season runs from late October into mid-December. During this period deer are more apt to suddenly run onto roadways. Increased deer activity is more likely to occur in the very early morning and around sunset.
The following tips can help motorists stay safe during the fall rut:
- If you see a deer, slow down and pay attention to possible sudden movement. If the deer is in the road and doesn’t move, wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear. Do not try to maneuver around the deer.
- Pay attention to “Deer Crossing” signs. Slow down when traveling through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you have ample time to stop if necessary.
- If you are traveling after dark, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead. High beams will be reflected by the eyes of deer on or near roads. If you see one deer, assume that others may be in the area. Deer typically move in family groups during this time of year and cross roads single-file.
- Don’t tailgate. Remember: The driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
- Always wear a seatbelt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and sensible speed, accounting for weather, available lighting, traffic, curves and other road conditions.
- If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact. The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake appropriately and stay in your lane. Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and instead collides with oncoming traffic or a fixed structure along the road.
- Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.
- Obey the state’s hands-free device law or refrain from using cellular devices while driving.