One and one-half million reports of accidents between motor vehicles and deer are reported in the United States each year. These accidents have caused countless personal injuries resulting in billions of dollars in insurance claims, as well as taking many lives.
“Car-deer accidents are a serious problem in Oswego County. Deer populations continue to grow significantly, influenced by a decline in hunting and mild winters. Therefore, motorists must be extremely careful all year long, but particularly during the fall,” stated Sheriff Reuel A. Todd.
Feeding habits, mating season, and hunters, influence the increased movement of whitetail deer during the fall months. Doe and fawns become more active as the fawns become self-sufficient and continue to increase food intake before winter. Conversely, bucks are actively pursuing a mating partner.
Sheriff Todd indicates the most active times for deer movement is usually during the “drive time hours,” stating drivers have to be particularly careful during the morning and late afternoon-early evening hours. “These timeframes become very dangerous in the fall as twilight descends on these peak times of deer movement.”
The following suggestions are offered by Sheriff Todd to help evade deer-motor vehicle accidents:
· Watch for deer along the roadside and slow down when you see deer. Where there is one deer there will be several deer.
· If you see a deer crossing sign, slow down. These signs are placed in areas that have proven to be deer crossing areas. If you see a deer crossing sign, you can be assured that there have been multiple car-deer accidents in that area.
· When you have a deer cross in front of your vehicle, be careful not to take such drastic, evasive actions as to lose control of your vehicle. It may be better to hit the deer than veer into the path of an oncoming vehicle or go crashing off the road.
· Be alert – look for the “glow” of an animal’s eyes along the road.
· Make sure that all vehicles’ occupants have their seat belts on and child restraint seats correctly installed – it’s the law.
Sheriff Todd stated, “You can’t prevent all deer-car collisions, but practicing the above suggestions will reduce your chances of an accident. Most importantly, be alert and reduce your speed in deer crossing areas.”