As temperatures cool and the fall season kicks in, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to be more aware of deer on the roads.
Nearly half of all deer-related automobile
accidents happen in the months of October, November and December, which
coincide with hunting and mating seasons, DOT officials said.
the animals can wander onto roadways at any time of day, the most
common time for deer-related accidents is between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.
About 86 percent of deer-car collisions happen during these hours, when
deer are most active and drivers have limited light to see them, DOT
spokesman Jerry Higgins said.
Ninety percent of the 19,500 animal-related automobile crashes in North Carolina last year involved deer, Higgins said.
the last three years, 3,498 people have been injured in deer-related
accidents, leading to 17 deaths and $139.1 million in damage.
deer are being seen in densely populated areas," state traffic engineer
Kevin Lacy said. "Drivers need to be alert at all times."
County had the most deer-related accidents in 2011, with 1,105
collisions, according to NCDOT data. Duplin County was second, with 646
In order to avoid a deer-related accident, NCDOT
recommends slowing down in wooded areas and marked deer crossing areas.
Deer often travel in groups, meaning the road may not be clear if one
deer has passed. Drive with high beams on when possible, and look for
the reflection of eyes in the headlights, officials said.
who swerve to avoid hitting a deer could cause a more serious crash or
confuse the deer, officials said. Allowing more space between vehicles
will also decrease the likelihood of involving more cars in an accident
with a deer. "If you can't avoid a deer, it is better to hit it than to lose control of your vehicle and cause a bigger accident," Lacy said.
deer-related accidents occur near bridges or overpasses. Deer also
follow streams, railroad tracks and ditches, the spokesman said. NCDOT
recommends letting out one long car horn blast if a deer is spotted,
which should encourage the deer to run away.