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It's time to watch out for deer

TRI-COUNTY AREA—It is the time of year with the most deer caused vehicle accidents.
Sheriff Ron Spike said the almost two-thirds of all deer related accidents in New York happen in late October to December. He said last November the Yates Sheriff’s department investigated 70 deer related vehicle accidents, but only 54 in 2007. Spike said as of Oct. 29, 2009, the department investigated 41 car accidents dealing with deer for that month. Three of them were just last Wednesday night.
Spike explained with with 70 deer related car accidents last November, there ended up being three to four a night. He said that 4 to 7 p.m., and 6 to 7:30 a.m., are when deer are most often feeding and moving about.
Spike added that the year-to-date number of deer related accidents is almost the same for 2009 and 2008. For this year, the sheriff’s department investigated 208 accidents and 216 in 2008. According to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department, the number of car/deer related accidents in November of 2008 was 81, and 51 in November of 2007.
“If you see one (deer), you better be looking for the second one,” said Spike about how deer travel in herds.
He explained that drivers need to be cautious. Spike said a vehicle’s high beams will probably reflect off of a deer’s eyes if it is on the side of the road. He added that he has heard some car-deer crash insurance claims exceed $2,600.
The New York Department of Transportation also advises:
• Use caution when driving at dawn or dusk.
• Be sure all vehicle occupants wear seatbelts and children are properly restrained in child safety seats.
• Slow down when approaching deer or moose standing near the roadside, as they may suddenly bolt into the road.
• Deer often travel in pairs or groups, so if a deer or moose is spotted crossing the road, slow down and be alert that others may follow.
• Briefly use flashers or a headlight signal to warn approaching drivers when deer or moose are spotted in or near the highway.
• Be especially alert and use caution when traveling through frequent deer crossing areas, which are usually marked with “leaping stag.”
• Do not rely on devices, such as deer whistles, extra lights or reflectors, to deter deer. Research has shown that your best defense is your own responsible behavior.
• Motorcyclists should be especially alert for deer as motorcycle-deer collisions have a higher fatality rate.
• If a deer does run in front of your vehicle, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a vehicle-vehicle collision or cause the vehicle to strike a pedestrian or potentially deadly fixed object, such as a tree or utility pole.
Deer hit and killed by vehicles must be reported to the police. Motorists are not allowed to remove the animal unless a permit is first obtained from the investigating officer at the scene of the accident.

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