Oh look a deer!! It is exciting to see a deer or moose in the wild but it can be frightening if they suddenly appear in front of your vehicle on the roadway. Collisions with deer increase in late October, peaking in November - during breeding season. AAA reminds drivers to be on the lookout for an increasing number of deer on roadways across New England in the coming weeks.
“AAA urges everyone on the roadways to be extra vigilant, but especially on rural roads” said Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England “Slow down, use your high beams when appropriate and be extra cautious from dusk to dawn when deer are on the move.”
Fewer daylight hours and a spike in deer activity during these months increase the chances of roadway crashes with the animals. November and December are the worst months for animal collisions which can not only put a serious dent it your car but can also cause serious injury and even death.
- According to the Maine Department of Transportation there were 5,469 deer related car crashes in 2019, with 29% of these crashes happening in November and December.
- According to the Vermont Association of Transportation there were 233 deer related car crashes in 2019, with 32% of these crashes happening in November and December.
- Nationally there are about 1.5 million deer-related car crashes annually that results in over $1 billion dollars in vehicle damage.
- Deer-related insurance claims average over $4,270.00 in Northern New England.
As random as these collisions might seem, there are things you can do to improve your chances of avoiding one. AAA has some tips to help prevent a crash or to reduce damage from an animal collision:
- Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you: Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if an animal is spotted. Also, remember deer often move in groups, so when there is one, there are likely more in the area.
- Good visibility is a must: Use high-beam headlights if there’s no oncoming traffic. Wildlife may be spotted sooner when using high beams. This will give the driver time to recognize and react to the situation.
- Slow down, and watch for other deer. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
- What if a crash is unavoidable? If a collision is unavoidable, remain in your lane- swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or result in drivers losing control of vehicles.
- From dusk to dawn: Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk. Most animals, especially deer, tend to be more active early in the morning and at dusk.
- Drive distraction & impairment free: Wear your seat belt and remain alert and sober. Driver distraction and inattention, combined with excess speed, often result in vehicle-wildlife collisions.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate locations with high levels of deer activity.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 61 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Operating 18 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and serves as an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA Northern New England can be visited on the Internet at aaa.com