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Attention Motorists – Fall Season Brings Increase of Deer on Roadways Says DMV/DEC


You probably don’t want to see them in front of your headlights anytime of the year, but the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Environmental Conservation say the fall season is when there is an increase in deer and moose on or near roadways throughout the state.

“Fall is a wonderful time to drive around New York State to enjoy the beautiful colors as the leaves change, but it is also a time to keep a careful watch for animals in the roadway,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “You should watch for deer-crossing signs and for animals at the side of the road that may suddenly dart into traffic.”

In 2022, 41.5% of crashes between deer and vehicles occurred during the three month-span in fall, according to the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research.

The most active hours for animals are at dawn and dusk where visibility is reduced and traffic is typically heavier, the DMV said in a release. The DEC offers recommendations for motorists on taking precautionary measures to reduce their chance of hitting a deer or moose.

Those are:

  • Decreasing your speed when approaching deer near the roadside
  • Slowing down when seeing deer crossing the road
  • Use a headlight signal to warn other drivers when deer are seen on or near the road
  • Honk your horn when seeing deer approaching the road way; honking can help stop them approaching
  • Use caution when seeing road warning signs
  • Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk

The worst thing you can do if you see an animal in the roadway is to swerve trying to avoid hitting it. Swerving your vehicle could cause a collision with another vehicle, a tree, utility pole, or other objects. It is recommended that you brake firmly.

If you do hit a deer, the DEC strongly recommends you stay away from the animal as it could be agitated. Motorists should move their vehicle to a safe space and if it is possible, pull over to the side of the road and turn on their hazard lights. If the animal is blocking the roadway, call the police.

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