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DEP Reminds Drivers to Look Out for Deer

Posted: October 13, 2011

Once again, with the arrival of the fall breeding season, New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is cautioning motorists to be especially alert while driving to avoid collisions with white-tailed deer. "White-tailed deer become most active and unpredictable during the annual fall rut," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda. "At this time of year, deer are much more likely to dart into roadways without warning. Drivers need to be extra alert to avoid collisions that could result in serious injuries or even death." According to DEP wildlife officials, the peak of the mating season in northern New Jersey occurs during the first three weeks of November. In many instances, deer will wander closer to and onto roadways. They may suddenly stop in the middle of a road, crossing and even re-crossing it. The danger is particularly pronounced at dawn and dusk when many people are commuting to and from work. DEP officials offer the following tips for driving during deer season:
  • If you spot a deer, slow down and pay attention to possible sudden movement. If the deer doesn't move, don't go around it. Wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear.
  • Pay attention to "Deer Crossing" signs; they are there for a reason. Slow down when traveling through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you will have ample time to stop if necessary.
  • If you are traveling after dark, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will be reflected by the eyes of deer on or near roads.
  • If you see one deer, be on guard...others may be in the area. Deer typically move in family groups at this time of year and cross roads single-file.
  • Don't tailgate. Remember, the driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
  • If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact. The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake firmly, but stay in your lane. Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and instead collides with oncoming traffic or a fixed structure.
  • Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.