Ten Tips for Driving During Deer Season
Today is the first official day of fall and our Vassar, MI terminal had some friends over to celebrate. Last year, we had turkeys and this year it’s deer. This is a friendly reminder that we will start seeing more deer and other wildlife moving. Here are ten tips for driving during deer season.
- Follow speed limits. Many animals are hit simply because people drive too fast to avoid them. Taking it slow makes the roads safer for other drivers and pedestrians, too.
- Watch for wildlife in and near the road at dawn, dusk and in the first few hours after darkness. Keep in mind that where there is one animal, there are probably others—young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a female.
- Be especially cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields, or where streams cross under roads. Most animal/vehicle collisions occur on these roads. Slow down to 45 mph or less.
- Scan the road as you drive, watching the edges for wildlife about to cross. This will also make you more aware of other hazards such as bicyclists, children at play and slow-moving vehicles.
- Don’t rely on devices. Items like deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors have not been proven effective at deterring deer from crossing roadways.
- Brake firmly if you notice a deer near the road. Slow down and stop if necessary. Be careful not to swerve out of your lane either into on-coming traffic or off the shoulder and into a ditch.
- Don’t throw trash out car windows. Discarded food pollutes the environment and creates a hazard by attracting wildlife to the roads.
- Use your high beams whenever possible. When driving at night, especially during peak hazard times, use your high-beam headlights when there is no on-coming traffic. This won’t necessarily deter the deer from entering the roadway, but it will increase visibility so that you can more easily spot the deer sooner.
- Lower your dashboard lights slightly. You’ll be more likely to see your headlights reflected in the eyes of animals in time to brake.
- Keep your distance. If you do strike a deer, don’t approach it. An injured deer is frightened and can injure you as well as further injuring itself. If the deer is blocking the roadway, it poses a threat to other drivers; so call the authorities immediately.
Humane Society of the United States