The North Carolina Department of Transportation is warning drivers to stay alert and be on the look out for deer.
According to a press release from NCDOT, 90 percent of all animal-related crashes involve deer, and 50% of those types of crashes traditionally take occur from October though December.
Deer activity increases during this time as a result of the mating and hunting seasons.
“This is the time of year that drivers need to be extra focused and alert,” said NCDOT Director of Mobility and Safety Kevin Lacy. “We have the combination of increased deer activity and it is getting darker sooner in the evening.”
NCDOT reported that in 2012, there were 20,181 animal-related rashes. In the last three years, there were 61, 688 animal-related crashes, with 20 fatalities and nearly 3,500 injuries.
Most animal-related crashes occur between the hours of 5 and 8 a.m.
NCDOT offers the following suggestions for motorists to avoid being in a deer-vehicle crash:
- Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening;
- Statistics indicate most deer-vehicle crashes occur near bridges or overpasses., and they 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 you to lose control of the vehicle, flipping it over, veering it into oncoming traffic or overcorrecting and running off the road, causing a more serious crash;
- Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away;
- 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;
- Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in deer-vehicle crashes were not wearing their seat belt;
- Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences or reflectors to deter deer as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle crashes; and
- If your vehicle strikes a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road if possible, and call 911.