2013-11-28 / News

Officials warn motorists to watch for deer

Deer-mating season is currently underway and state officials are advising motorists to be alert for deer crossing roadways, particularly at dawn and dusk. Deer tend to move around more frequently during mating season, and November is typically the peak period for collisions with motor vehicles.

With shorter daylight hours, many commuters are on area roads while the sun is rising or setting, when deer tend to be most active. Deer may dart out suddenly and often travel together, so motorists should watch for any other deer that may try to cross the road following the first one. Officials say motorists should slow down while driving at dawn and dusk, use high beams when possible, and always buckle up.

According to the state police, the best way to prevent a collision is to remain alert while driving.

Some people report success blowing the horn in one long blast while other drivers say deer whistles work. However, studies have not proven their effectiveness.

According to the state Department of Transportation, swerving suddenly to avoid the deer can result in a more severe accident, as drivers lose control by crashing into oncoming traffic or going off the road. Transportation officials say the best approach is to slow down where deer are common. If a deer does suddenly appear, drivers should use controlled braking to avoid or minimize a direct impact with the animal. Deer struck head-on will succumb, but the driver and passengers might be saved from a more serious potential outcome.

Anyone who strikes a deer should exercise caution when approaching a deer that has been hit, as it may only be stunned. In accordance with state law, any vehicle collision with a deer must be reported to the Department of Environmental Management at 222- 3070. Though small consolation, the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident may choose to keep the deer with a permit from the state.

According to the DEM, 1,026 deer auto strikes have been reported in Rhode Island this year, with 359 taking place in September and October. Jamestown’s neighboring town, North Kingstown, has the most incidents this fall with 24 reported auto strikes.

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