Deer breeding season’s here – tips to avoid collisions
There are hundreds of accidents involving deer in Washington every year, more than half of which occur during October and November – so now’s when you should be most diligent when driving in deer-prone areas. Here are some tips for staying safe.
- Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. Be especially watchful during these times.
- One deer crossing the road may be a sign that more deer are about to cross. Watch for other deer – they will move fast to catch up with leaders, mothers, or mates and may not pay attention to traffic.
- When you see brake lights, it could be because the driver ahead of you has spotted a deer. Stay alert as you drive by the spot, as more deer could try to cross.
- Wonder why the person ahead is driving so slowly? The driver may know where to slow down and be extra alert for deer. Don’t be too quick to pass, and watch out.
- Take note of deer-crossing signs and drive accordingly. They were put there for a reason.
- Try to drive more slowly at night, giving yourself time to see a deer with your headlights. Lowering the brightness of your dashboard lights slightly will make it easier to see deer.
- Be especially watchful when traveling near steep roadside banks. Deer will pop onto the roadway with little or no warning.
- Be aware that headlights confuse deer and may cause them to move erratically or stop. Young animals in particular do not recognize that vehicles are a threat.
- Deer hooves slip on pavement and a deer may fall in front of your vehicle just when you think it is jumping away.
- Deer whistles, small devices that can be mounted on your vehicle, emit a shrill sound that supposedly alerts deer nearby. (Humans cannot hear the sound.) How well the devices work is not scientifically known.
Source: the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife