Deer can be adorable and beautiful, but they can also be deadly. One moment, they’ll be grazing on the side of road, only to leap across several lanes of oncoming traffic the next.
White-tailed deer — which are found in almost every state in the continental U.S. — become increasingly active in the fall. October through early January is their breeding season, or “rut,” when male deer are on the move to find a mate. Other deer are also on the move, because they are actively feeding to gain weight before harsher winter temperatures arrive.
This activity, plus the shorter days of autumn, can be recipe for disaster. Now is the time when motorists are more likely to encounter deer. More than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions take place every year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, deer-vehicle collisions cause about 200 fatalities and $4 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”!) in damages a year in the U.S.
Stay safer with these deer-season driving tips:
- Slow down: You’ll have more time to react and stop when you encounter a herd of deer casually strolling on a twisty country road or highway.
- Be extra cautious when driving through wooded areas, fields, or known deer-crossing zones.
- Be alert when driving at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active along roads. Watch for the animals’ eyes reflecting your headlights.
- Watch out: If you see one deer, be cautious and expect more to follow.
- Don’t swerve, because you may hit other cars. Apply your brakes firmly.
- Make sure you and your passengers always wear your seat belts!
Be Prepared! Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team