NCDOT: Keep alert for deer

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Article Published: Oct. 17, 2012 | Modified: Oct. 17, 2012
NCDOT: Keep alert for deer

The NCDOT suggests that motorists slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
File photo by Rob Moore

In order to help reduce the number of wildlife-related automobile crashes, the N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be aware of the increased presence of deer on state roads during the fall months.

More than 19,500 animal-related crashes were reported each of the last three years, and 90 percent of those involved deer. Since 2009, the incidents have resulted in 3,498 injuries to people, of which 17 were fatal, and approximately $139.1 million in property damage.

While a crash involving a deer can happen at any time, the majority of deer-vehicle collisions occur between the months of October and December, when deer activity increases due to mating and hunting seasons. Crashes are most common during the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., when deer movement increases and limited lighting makes it more difficult for motorists to see them on or near roadways.

NCDOT officials offered the following suggestions for motorists to avoid collisions with deer:

Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening;

Statistics indicate most car-deer crashes occur near bridges or overpasses. Deer also follow railroad tracks, streams and ditches;

Drive with high beams on, when possible, and watch out for eyes reflecting in the headlights;
Remember that deer often travel in groups, so do not assume that the road is clear if one deer has already passed;

Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run;
If you see a deer near or on the road, give you car horn one long blast. This sound gives the deer an audible signal to avoid; and

Increase the distance between your vehicle and other cars, especially at night. If the car ahead of you hits a deer, you may also become involved in the accident.

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