Motorist caution: deer season is here
FINGER LAKES--Fall months are when deer are most active and more likely to be hit by cars. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Environmental Conservation has urged drivers to be aware that deer become more active and are more likely to enter public roadways in the fall months. Two-thirds of all collisions between deer and vehicles occur during the months of October, November, and December. This is the time when deer breed and when they travel the most.
"Motorists need to be aware that deer are more likely to be present on the roads at this time of year, and drivers should be especially alert as they travel," said Terri Egan, DMV's executive deputy commissioner and acting chair of the governor's traffic safety committee. "If a roadway is marked with deer-crossing signs, that means deer have been seen at that location and have collided with cars there. Drivers should exercise an abundance of caution in those areas."
"Early fall is a peak time for wildlife activity in New York," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "I caution all motorists, even those in urban areas, to keep an eye out and be aware, particularly during these active fall months, that wildlife can cross their paths. The key is for drivers to be alert during dawn and dusk, drive slower, and not swerve if they encounter a deer."
Should you see a deer go across the road, decrease speed and be careful as deer can "bolt" and change direction quickly. Deer travel in groups so expect other deer to follow. Use emergency lights or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when deer are seen on or near the road. Use caution on roadways marked with deer crossing signs.
If you encounter a deer on the roadway, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a collision with another vehicle, a tree, a pole, or other objects.
If you do strike a deer, the DEC also offers advice on what to do next. Stay away from the animal. A frightened, wounded deer could use its powerful legs and sharp hooves to harm you.
Other tips include: move your vehicle to a safe place, if possible, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and out of the way of any oncoming vehicles.
Call the police. Alert authorities if the deer is blocking traffic and creating a threat for other drivers. If the collision results in injury, death or more than $1,000 in property damage, you must fill out an official report. Don't assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won't latch and other safety hazards. If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a tow truck.
More information about deer can be found on the DEC's website.