Use Caution While Driving This Spring

From Whitetails Unlimited.  Good points have been brought to our attention here.  Check it out...

Deer are very active in the spring, creating hazards for motorists. Whitetails Unlimited urges drivers to be safe this spring.

Collisions between cars and white-tailed deer are common in the spring, and drivers need to be alert to the danger, according to Whitetails Unlimited Executive Director Pete Gerl. "Drivers need to be aware that deer are more active in the spring, particularly during the dusk and dawn hours," Gerl said. "There are hundreds of thousands of accidents with deer nationwide, and the only effective way to prevent them is for drivers to be alert to the danger."

Car-deer accidents peak during the fall, but numbers are also very high in the spring. That's because during the winter deer commonly gather  in smaller areas, and as the weather warms in the spring the deer spread out and return to their summer feeding and birthing areas. As a result many more deer are crossing many more roads as they move across the countryside. In addition, deer often find excellent food sources along roads and highways, placing them in proximity of vehicles. (As foliage starts to turn green in the spring, plants on the edge of open areas near roads can get more sunlight, and therefore grow earlier, faster and bigger than plants inside wooded areas.)

 

There are a number of things a driver can do to be safer during this time of year:

  • Be more cautious while driving at all times. Deer are normally more active between dusk and dawn and are crossing roads during the night, when visibility for drivers is at the lowest.
  • Reduce your speed and watch the edges of the road, as well as ditches and tree lines along the highway. At night, drive within the limits of your headlights and use your high beams when you are able to. Headlights will pick up reflections from the deer's eyes long before you will be able to see the entire deer. If you see these reflections, start to slow down.
  • If you see one deer, assume there are others around. Deer often travel in groups.
  • Deer crossing signs along the highway are there for a reason - deer are known to cross the road in that area! Be extra cautious in these areas.
  • Be aware that many does are pregnant in the spring, making them slower and less agile. It is more difficult for them to avoid vehicles.
  • If a collision with a deer is inevitable, do not cross the centerline into oncoming traffic and avoid violent swerving to miss the deer. Most experts advise hitting the deer instead of swerving sharply into the side of the road and possibly loosing control of the vehicle, hitting a roadside object, or rolling the vehicle.
  • Make sure you and your passengers always wear seatbelts.
  • If you do hit a deer call 911 if there are injuries, or if your vehicle is disabled. Insurance companies normally require a police report if there is damage that needs to be repaired. Do not approach a deer that is injured but still alive. It will be scared and want to flee, and you can be injured by hooves or antlers. Police officers and game wardens are permitted to destroy injured animals, but it is usually not legal for individuals to kill a deer out of season or without a license.

Seeing a deer in the woods is a wonderful treat, but it's scary when you see one near the road. Be careful out there.

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