Autumn is here and along with colorful leaves, crisp air, and shorter days, deer are on the move. Fall is the breeding season for deer, so deer will be more active over the next couple of months than at any other time of the year.
Motorists will also be driving more often in the dark, increasing the likelihood of encountering a deer on the road. Colliding with a deer can cause considerable damage to the animal, people and property.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) recommends the following tips to avoid hitting a deer:
Slow down and be attentive, particularly at night (from dusk to dawn). If you see one deer, watch out for others.
Deer habitually travel the same areas. Use caution when you see deer crossing signs installed in these areas by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid hitting a deer, but never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
Always wear a seat belt. Even if a collision is unavoidable, you are more likely to avoid injury or death if you are wearing a seat belt.
If you hit or kill a deer or bear while driving, immediately report the accident to a Conservation Police Officer or other law enforcement officer in the county or city where the accident occurred.
If you kill a deer or bear while driving, you may keep it for your own use if you report the accident to a law enforcement officer where the accident occurred and the officer views the animal and gives you a possession certificate.
For more information, see this video PSA on deer/vehicle safety, www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXdtN-pJilM.