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Deer Safety Tips

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Motorists need to heighten their awareness of deer during the fall breeding season Deer do not stop and look both ways when they cross a highway.

Collisions between deer and automobiles result in a substantial cost, including damage to vehicles, the loss of a valuable wildlife resource and human injuries or fatalities. As deer and human populations have grown
in the metropolitan areas, this danger has become greater. Although no statistics are available regarding the combined property damage and personal injury loss resulting from deer/vehicle collisions in Charlottesville City, property damage alone is enough for everyone to sit up and take notice.

Most accidents occur between dusk and dawn. Watch for deer where roads pass through wooded or rural areas. The most important thing drivers can do to reduce the chances of an accident with a deer is to drive the speed limit. Addition to our recommendations, here are some other tips to keep in mind as a driver.

  • Deer usually travel in groups and generally maintain a home range of about one square mile. If
    you see a deer cross the road, slow down and use caution. Often additional deer are out of view
    and more are likely to follow.
  • A deer standing calmly in a field may suddenly jump into the road. Anticipate the potential for this
    rapid change in posture.
  • Elevate your deer awareness at locations with deer crossing signs. Deer crossing signs indicate
    areas where heavily used deer trails cross roadways. Slow down and watch for the eye-shine of
    deer near the roadway edges.
  • Be especially aware during the morning and afternoon. Deer tend to be more active during the early morning hours and late afternoon hours year round. They are moving between evening feeding areas and daytime bedding sites.
  • Be especially cautious during seasons of high deer which are October to January during the breeding season, and May and June when yearlings are seeking new territories. In Spring, deer move as snow disappears and tend to gravitate near roadway shoulders for the first greening grass and remaining roadway salt.
  • Slow down to avoid hitting a deer, but do not swerve. This can cause you to lose control and strike another vehicle or to leave the highway and strike a tree or other object. Injuries to drivers and passengers increase when the vehicle swerves.