White-Tailed Deer Mating Season Can Present Hazard to Drivers
As the leaves begin to change and the days become shorter, the white-tailed deer population will enter into the mating season, or “the rut.” The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is advising motorists to use heightened awareness of deer crossings and regions where there are known deer populations.
“Although a vehicle/deer collision can occur anytime of the year, these incidents are more prevalent during the mating season,” said SHA Administrator Gregory C. Johnson, P.E. “Deer populations are increasing and not just in rural areas. Sightings of deer in residential areas are increasing, so please use extreme caution, follow the posted speed limit and avoid distractions.”
Here are some tips for limiting a chance of a vehicle-deer collision:
• Never “VEER” for deer. Making sudden sharp turns is dangerous as it could place a driver in the path of on-coming traffic or cause the vehicle to strike a fixed object such as a tree or utility pole.
• Be familiar with deer behavior. If you see one deer, chances are good that there are more to follow. Deer travel in herds.
• Slow down in known deer areas. Driving slower will enable a vehicle to stop sooner.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Deer feed primarily between sunset and sunrise and often live in forested areas or rural regions near watersheds.
• Stay alert. When traveling through a known deer crossing area, keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
• Drive carefully at night. Use your high beams where possible and when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams illuminate a wider area.
• Clean your windows and ensure all exterior vehicle lighting is operational. A clear windshield will help a motorist see greater distances.
• Use peripheral vision. Scan each side of the roadside for movement as well as straight ahead and in the distance.
If you strike a deer, never approach the injured animal. Pull to a safe location with hazard lights on and call the police. Drive safely this fall.