In many parts of the country, driving becomes more dangerous from October through January. That’s because it’s deer breeding season and meeting a startled animal on the road can be a frightening experience that can easily lead to a collision, injuries and even a fatality.
Fleet drivers should be reminded of best practices for avoiding deer as well as what to do if they do encounter one. Experts offering the following advice:
As always, make sure your seat belt is securely fastened when driving during deer season.
Slow Down at Deer Crossing Signs
The signs are posted for a purpose, so proceed with caution.
Be Cautious on Two-Lane Roads
Deer are most prevalent on the side of two-lane roads, and in early morning and early evening hours from the fall through early winter. This is because deer are aware and afraid of hunters in the woods—so they leave the forest. What's more, in addition to regular hours, hunters in many areas are often allowed to hunt one half hour before sunrise and one half hour before sunset.
Remember the Herd
If you see one deer, there are likely many more. Deer rarely travel alone but rather as a herd.
Use High Beams at Night
During deer season, use your high beams at night as they can help you scan for deer eye reflections, making it easier to spot one in the dark.
If you do encounter a deer in the road—or believe you are about to hit one— here is what experts suggest:
Reduce Speed, Flash Headlights, and Honk
Deer seem to be in a trace when they see headlights, so flashing and honking helps awaken them to oncoming danger and prompts them to run out of the roadway.
If you think you are about to hit a deer, do not swerve to avoid it. Swerving often causes the driver to hit a tree, a vehicle or another object—and that’s when the most injuries and fatalities occur.
Brake Then Release
Experts suggest that it is better to just hit your brakes up until the last second of impact—then release the brakes. By using this technique, when you hit the deer it will most likely propel away from your vehicle instead of crashing on or through your windshield or roof—both of which situations can cause serious injury to the driver.
Stay Away from Wounded Animals
If you do strike a deer and it is still alive in the road, stay far away from it to avoid scaring it and for your own safety.
Call the Police
Report all vehicle-deer collisions to the police.
To learn more about avoiding deer while driving, watch this video from Geico.