Information provided by the DMV and DEC
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Environmental Conservation urge drivers to be aware that deer become more active and are more likely to enter public roadways in the fall months.
Two-thirds of all collisions between deer and vehicles occur during the months of October, November, and December. This is the time when deer breed and when they travel the most.
Deer are particularly active at dawn and dusk, times when traffic may be heavy and visibility may be reduced.
The DEC recommends these precautions motorists can take to reduce the chance of hitting a deer:
- Decrease speed when you approach deer near roadsides. Deer can “bolt” or change direction at the last minute.
- If you see a deer go across the road, decrease speed and be careful. Deer travel in groups so expect other deer to follow.
- Use emergency lights or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when deer are seen on or near the road.
- Use caution on roadways marked with deer crossing signs.
If you encounter a deer on the roadway, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a collision with another vehicle, a tree, a pole, or other objects.
If you do strike a deer, DEC also offers advice on what to do next. Stay away from the animal. A frightened, wounded deer could use its powerful legs and sharp hooves to harm you.
Other tips include:
- Move your vehicle to a safe place. If possible, pull over to the side of the road, and turn on your hazard lights. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and out of the way of any oncoming vehicles. Since deer are most active at dusk and dawn, you could be less visible to traffic too.
- Call the police. Alert authorities if the deer is blocking traffic and creating a threat to other drivers. If the collision results in injury, death or more than $1,000 in property damage, you must fill out an official report.
- Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won’t latch and other safety hazards. If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a tow truck.
Additionally, precautions and safety tips about special driving conditions, such as driving in rain, in winter, or in driving emergencies, can be found on DMV’s website.