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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Caution: Deer Crossing

Heed these words; because you cannot depend on the idea that areas marked with these signs are the only places a deer is going to cross the road. You have to stay alert and be prepared to avoid a deer at any time, and not only in the country, but in suburban areas in even in the city.

In the fall, October, November, and December is when there are more deer-vehicle collisions than any other time of the year. Approximately one-half or more of all deer-vehicle collisions occur this time of year.

It’s mating season for deer, commonly called the "rut" by deer hunters, and the time of year when deer are the most active. Also, there are more people in the woods keeping deer spooked making them jittery and unpredictable near roads.

Approximately 25,000 deer-vehicle collisions happen in Virginia each year…people die or get injured, and then there is property damage. In the 3-year period of 1999-2001, 10 people were killed, more than 1,500 people were injured, and there was an estimated $31.9 million in property damage in reported deer-vehicle accidents. Don’t become a statistic!

How can you avoid being involved in a deer-vehicle collision?

Well, if you are thinking about buying a deer whistle to put on your car or truck, don’t, save your money because they don’t work.

There is no data or research to show that deer whistles are effective in reducing deer vehicle collisions. Research conducted at the University of Georgia over a decade ago indicated that these devices did not produce the ultrasonic sound as advertised. Even if they did, it would not matter; deer do not hear in the ultrasonic range. A deer's hearing range is very similar to ours.

Here are some suggestions, from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries that will help minimize your chances of hitting a deer.

Be especially careful when driving at dawn and at dusk. This time of day is when deer are most active. Unfortunately, after the fall time change, these are also the times of day that most people commute to and from work.

If you see a deer crossing the road up ahead, slow down immediately and continue to drive slowly until you are past the point where the deer crossed. Female deer frequently travel in groups and more deer may be about to cross.

Deer habitually use particular areas to cross roads, usually crossing between areas of cover. Drivers should slow down when driving through these areas, particularly at dawn and dusk in the fall. If you see a VDOT deer crossing warning sign, slow down and be more attentive. It is there for a reason.

Do not swerve to miss a deer. You should brake and stay in your lane. Losing control of your vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle, or leaving the road and hitting a tree will almost always result in a more serious accident than hitting a deer.

You need to report a deer-vehicle collisions if it happens to you; It’s the law.

From the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries:

Any person who is involved in a motor vehicle collision that kills a deer or bear is required by law to immediately report the accident to a game warden or other law enforcement officer in the county or city where the accident occurred. The State does not pay for damages incurred from collisions with wildlife. Consult your insurance company. Drivers who collide with a deer or bear may keep the animal for their own use, provided they report the accident to a law enforcement officer where the accident occurred. The officer will view the animal and give the person a possession certificate.

So please drive safely, stay alert and watch out for deer crossing the roads whether there is a deer crossing sign posted or not.



  • At Monday, 13 August, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    d@amned deer hunters stir up the deer . They ought to be held liable for all the car accidents. These hunter sobs with dog packs are the ones responsible for over reacting the deer to run across roads !! I've seen the dog pack be set loose & do this. Hunters also kill the cyotes that dont even eat none of the deer or wild life up as cycotes eat frogs and do no harm. How dare they kill the cyotes. & power to the cyote.


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