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Drivers should show extra caution for deer with start of hunting season

Posted 16 November 2018 at 12:45 pm

Press Release, AAA of Western and Central New York

File photo by Tom Rivers: These deer are pictured in March 2015 on Route 98 in Gaines, south of 104.

While any animal on the road is dangerous, deer are most often the cause of collisions. Opening Day of shotgun deer hunting season is Saturday in most areas in Western and Central New York, which will stir the deer population. This is also the height of deer mating season across the region.

AAA analyzed New York crash data and found that November is by far the peak month for deer crashes in the Empire State. In November 2016, there were 4,469 deer crashes – equivalent to one deer crash every ten minutes.

Motorists should be especially vigilant after dark. In November 2016, 83 percent of deer crashes occurred outside day-light hours. Crashes were most common from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., during the evening rush and when darkness has just set in.

“Drivers should always be on the lookout for hazards on the road, but the danger of deer increases every fall,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA WCNY. “Car-deer collisions can be both deadly and costly. Drivers should pay close attention, avoid distractions and scan the road for deer when traveling on area roadways.”

New York State Police recommend that if you strike a deer, remain at the scene and call 911. An accident report can be completed by troopers if your vehicle has over $1,000 in damage or if an involved person has been injured.

AAA offers the following tips for avoiding or mitigating deer crashes:

• Scan the shoulders of the road in front of you. Deer may dash out from the shoulder or wooded areas adjacent to the road. They often travel in herds.

• Follow the speed limit. Keeping your speed down will give you more time to respond to unexpected wild-life movements.

• If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Swerving sharply to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash.

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