The annual deer mating season, or rut, is happening in Maryland and across the nation. Every year in Maryland, there are hundreds of crashes that involve a vehicle against a deer, and this can be deadly.
Deer populations are an issue not just in rural areas but in suburban neighborhoods, as well. Drivers are encouraged to be familiar with their surroundings and pay close attention to the position of other drivers. It is a natural instinct to hit the brakes and aggressively veer out of the animal’s path. This can lead to a severe crash.
Here are some tips for limiting the chance of a vehicle-deer collision:
Never “VEER” for deer! Making a sudden sharp turn is dangerous as it can place a driver in the path of on-coming traffic or cause the vehicle to strike a fixed object such as a tree or utility pole.
Be familiar with deer herding behavior. If you see one deer, chances are good that there are more to follow. Deer travel in herds.
Slowdown in known deer areas. Driving slower will enable a vehicle to stop sooner.
Be aware of your surroundings. Deer feed primarily between sunset and sunrise and often live in forested areas or rural regions near watersheds.
Stay alert. When traveling through a known deer crossing area, keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Drive carefully at night. Use your high beams where possible and when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams illuminate a wider area.
Clean your windows and ensure all exterior vehicle lighting is operational. A clear windshield will help a motorist see greater distances.
Use peripheral vision. Scan each side of the roadside, as well as straight ahead and in the distance, for movement.
Should a motorist strike a deer, never approach an injured animal. Pull to a safe location with hazard lights on and call the police. Drive safely this fall.