The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is reminding Delaware motorists, especially workers driving home at dusk, to be alert for deer crossing roadways.
“As we’re heading home, deer are just beginning their peak movement time,” said Emily Boyd, Division of Fish & Wildlife deer biologist. “From dusk to midnight and within a few hours of sunrise are when motorists need to be especially alert and watch for deer on the road. Also, fall is mating season for deer, known as the ‘rut.’ Deer are at their most active at this time, with bucks single-mindedly pursuing does — sometimes right into the path of your car.”
The Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Delaware police agencies, auto insurance companies and the Division of Fish & Wildlife provided tips:
— Turn headlights on at dawn and dusk and keep eyes on the road, scanning the sides of the road as well as what’s ahead.
— When there is no oncoming traffic, switch to high beams to better reflect the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
— To reduce risk of injury in a collision, always wear a seatbelt.
— Be especially aware of any distractions that might take eyes off the road, even if only momentarily, such as cellphones, adjusting the radio, eating or passenger activities.
— Watch for deer crossing signs that mark commonly-traveled areas and be aware that deer typically cross between areas of cover, such as woods or where roads divide agricultural fields from woods.
— If a deer is crossing the road ahead, slow down immediately and proceed with caution until past the crossing point. Deer usually travel in groups, so if one is seen, there are likely to be others.
— Slow down and blow horn with one long blast to frighten deer away. Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
— Do not swerve to miss a deer — brake and stay in the lane. Losing control of a vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle or leaving the roadway and hitting another obstacle such as a tree or a pole is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
If a deer is hit, stop at the scene, get car off the road if possible and call police. Do not touch the animal or get too close; an injured deer may bite or kick, causing injury.