2008-10-09 / Local & State

Deer Starting To Appear On Roadways

Drivers, hunters reminded to play it safe

As daylight hours shrink, drivers are reminded to be on the lookout for white-tailed deer darting onto roads across Pennsylvania, said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E.

"We typically see an increase in the number of deer-related crashes at this time of year," Biehler said. "Deer are very unpredictable, but motorists can reduce their risk of being involved in a crash with a deer by driving defensively and staying alert, especially when driving between dusk and dawn."

Deer are most active during the fall, particularly between sunset and sunrise. According to statistics, 46 percent of all reportable crashes involving a deer in the past five years have occurred in the months of October and November, with 90 percent occurring in clear weather. Last year, there were 2,482 crashes statewide involving deer, resulting in 596 injuries and eight fatalities.

During the fall, deer move around more, travel longer distances and are less wary of their surroundings, increasing the potential for collisions with vehicles.

The possibility of a deer-related crash further increases in October as thousands of hunters take to the woods for the opening of archery and small game seasons.

Motorists and hunters can help increase their safety by following a few safety tips:

Be on the alert for hunters entering the woods early in the morning and leaving in the late evening hours;

Slow down and use caution, particularly where deer crossing signs are posted;

Hunters should be certain that their vehicles are pulled as far off the roadway as possible and remember that parking along limited access highways is prohibited except for emergencies;

If you are walking along the roadway, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or a glow stick to help increase your visibility;

Since deer often travel in small herds, one deer crossing a roadway will usually be followed by others;

Increase following distance between vehicles;

Morning and late evening hours are the most active for wildlife;

Be sure to make young drivers aware of the increased deer movement;

Seek permission before parking on private property;

Always wear your seatbelt;

Never drink and drive; and

If your wipers are on, your headlights must be on. This is required by state law.

To report a dead deer on state roads, motorists can call 1-800-FIXROAD.

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