Drivers beware: It's deer season on the roads

What-to-Do-If-an-Animal-Runs-in-Front-of-You

Deer season is here and AAA reminds drivers to be on the lookout for animals on roadways across New Hampshire.  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 4,774 animal related car crashes in 2015.  Nationally there are about 1.5 million deer-related car crashes annually that results in over $1 billion dollars in vehicle damage.

“AAA urges everyone on the roadways to be extra vigilant, but especially on rural, and wooded roads” said Dan Goodman, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England for New Hampshire and Vermont.  “Deer crashes are not only costly - they can be deadly. Deer and other animals are unpredictable and you never know when they might dash out in front of your vehicle.”

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 some animals move in groups, so when there is one, there are usually 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 slow down, move over or honk the horn to scare the animal away. High beams also help in spotting some animals’ reflective eyes.
  • 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.  Apply the brakes firmly, and release them just before impact- this will help prevent the vehicle’s nose from “scooping” the animal up and over the hood.
  • 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.
  • Pay Attention and Keep to the Speed Limit: Drivers should always wear a seat belt and remain awake, alert and sober. Driver distraction and inattention, combined with excess speed, often result in vehicle-wildlife collisions

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services.  Operating 19 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 www.AAA.com.