CT car-deer collisions more common this time of year
It’s the height of the fall season and while we humans may be busy driving kids to school and sports, shopping for upcoming holidays, and spending time with friends the deer in our woodlands have just one thing on their minds — procreation.
It’s mating season for deer and that makes driving — with dusk earlier now that standard time has begun — more dangerous. Analysis by AAA Northeast has found 72 percent of deer crashes generally occur outside daylight hours, especially during 5-7 p.m., high time for commuting and getting kids home for dinner.
AAA reports that statistics from the UCONN Crash Data Repository show 208 deer crashes occurred in Connecticut in November 2018 — the most of any month last year. That figure equates to one deer crash every four hours.
The real number is probably higher since many deer crashes go unreported. Earlier this fall, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimated there were more than 3,500 deer strikes in Connecticut last year.
In Connecticut, the highest number of reported strikes occurred in Hartford County with 63, followed closely by Fairfield County with 62 and New Haven County with 41.
To avoid a deer crash, AAA says drivers should take precautions as they would to avoid any type of crash.
Scan the road ahead of you, including the shoulder since deer can dash out from adjacent wooded areas. Remember that deer tend to travel in herds, so if one is seen there may very well be more that follow.
Be especially attentive in the early morning and evening hours.
Be careful rounding curves and climbing hills where visibility is limited.
One long blast on a car horn may frighten animals away if seen early enough.
If a collision can’t be avoided, apply the brakes firmly and try to remain in your lane. Swerving to avoid the animal may cause loss of control and create a more serious crash.
If possible, pull over to safe place and turn on hazard lights. This may mean pulling over to the shoulder of the highway.
Check to see if your vehicle is safe to operate. Check for leaking fluid, damaged lights, loose parts or other safety hazards. When in doubt, call a tow truck.
Report any deer-related collisions to police and local, state or DEEP conservation officers.