Safety Tips for Deer Season
December 05, 2017
Cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours are a sure sign that the winter season is approaching. With the holidays around the corner and daylight savings, now more than ever, it is important to take care while driving. White-tail deer mating season is in full swing, running from late October into mid-December. Specific precautions should be taken while driving to avoid colliding with another driver when deer are present on roadways.
According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, deer are involved in thousands of car accidents each year, with the highest number occurring during the fall mating season. Recent time changes have shifted lighting conditions, making roadways dangerous during heavy commute hours, as deer typically engage in mating during the early morning and evening hours. Low light levels and sun glare can make it difficult to see deer that are about to cross the road. Deer may cross the road at any given time during mating season. While driving, it is important to remain alert and aware, paying close attention to the sides of wooded roadways during periods of limited visibility.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife recommend the following precautions for drivers during the fall mating season:
- When traveling after dark, use high beams when there are no vehicles ahead or oncoming traffic. High beams reflect the eyes of deer on or near roadways, making them easier to spot.
- Be cautious of traveling deer. Even if you see one deer crossing, others may be near. Deer tend to travel across the road in a single-file order.
- Avoid tailgating and maintain a safe driving distance behind other vehicles. Drivers may quickly brake or veer their vehicles to avoid hitting deer.
- Maintain regular driving precautions. Always wear your seat belt and drive at a safe and sensible speed, accounting for changes in weather, lighting, and traffic.
- If trying to avoid deer on roadways does result in a car accident, report the event to your local law enforcement agency. Furthermore, motorists should inform the Department of Transportation of deer who were struck by vehicles on roadways. This can cause car accidents if not properly maintained.
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