Next Three Months Are Considered Riskiest For Deer-Related Crashes

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New York motorists are reminded to be vigilant on the roads about watching for deer and other animals when driving this fall.

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An announcement was made yesterday (October 2) by officials with the New York State Departments of Motor Vehicles and Environmental Conservation (DMV & DEC).

The months of October, November and December are considered breeding season, a period when deer become more active and mobile, thus becoming more likely to enter the roadway.

Historically, data shows that two-thirds of all deer-related motor vehicle crashes occur during this three month span.

“It’s very important that drivers exercise extra caution during the fall months to avoid collisions with deer and moose,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “When you see a deer-crossing sign along a highway, that means deer have been seen at that location and have collided with cars there. Those signs are meant to warn you to be extra cautious when driving through such locations.”

“Early fall is a peak time for wildlife activity in New York,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “I caution all motorists, even those driving in urban areas, to keep an eye out and be aware, particularly during these active fall months, that wildlife can cross their paths. The key is for drivers to be alert during dawn and dusk, drive slower, and not to swerve if they encounter a deer or moose.”

Animals such as deer are especially active at dawn and dusk, times when visibility is reduced and commuter traffic may be heavy.

The DEC recommends these precautions motorists can take to reduce the chance of hitting a deer or moose:

  • 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.
  • Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk, when animal movement is at its highest and visibility is reduced.

If you encounter an animal on the roadway, brake firmly but do not swerve, as doing so can cause a collision with another vehicle, a tree, pole, or other objects.

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