Transportation Services offers safety tips during deer season

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Since deer are most active in the fall and early winter, Transportation Services is offering tips on how to decrease the risks associated with deer collisions. These tips include watching for road signs and avoiding the urge to swerve away from a deer.

The Department of Roads places deer crossing signs in areas where there are frequent deer collisions. When traveling through an area where these signs are posted, slow down, increase side-to-side scanning and be prepared for a deer to dart onto the roadway.

The initial reaction of many drivers when an animal is on the road is to steer around it. Consequently, many of these drivers run off the road or hit trees, poles, guardrails and even other vehicles. Collisions that occur from swerving are typically far worse than hitting the animals. Motorists should avoid the urge to swerve.

Another common reaction to a deer on the roadway is to hit the brakes. While hitting the brakes will slow down the vehicle and lessen the severity of the impact, it is important to release the brakes just before striking the deer. The front end of the vehicle will be lifted higher, pushing the deer ahead. If braking at the time of the collision, the front of the vehicle will be pushing downward and this will increase the risk of the deer riding over the hood and back into the windshield, which could bring the deer crashing through the windshield and into the passenger area. To avoid this, let off the brake prior to impact.

At night, use high-beam headlights as much as legally possible and look for reflection in the eyes of animals along the road. If one deer is in sight, expect more as they are herd animals.

If a deer is hit, hold the wheel steady, slow down safely, pull off to the side of the road and turn on hazard flashers. Do not approach an injured deer. An injured animal is unpredictable and can cause injury.