Although fall in the Adirondacks is a wonderful time of the year, it can also be dangerous. With decreased daylight hours and increased deer and moose sightings, roadways in the Adirondacks pose more hazards for both motorists and wildlife. Read on for more information on how to make your travels through the region safer for everyone.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are warning drivers to remain alert and use caution while driving, especially at dawn, dusk, and in areas known for deer and moose crossings.
The season’s shorter days coincide with breeding season for deer (October, November, and December) and moose (early fall). In fact, two-thirds of all collisions with deer happen between October and December.
Although deer sightings along roadways are more common, moose can be particularly dangerous for drivers. They’re less visible at night than deer because of their dark fur and height. They’re tall enough that your headlights might not allow you to see their heads or most of their body, which also means that they’re more likely to strike your windshield if you hit them.
“Early fall is a peak time for wildlife activity in New York,” said Basil Seggos, the DEC Commissioner, in a statement. “I caution all motorists, even those driving in urban areas, to keep an eye out and be aware, particularly during these active fall months, that wildlife can cross their paths. The key is for drivers to be alert during dawn and dusk, drive slower, and not to swerve if they encounter a deer or moose.”
Tips for Safe Driving
- Be very cautious at dawn and dusk. The reduced visibility, commuting traffic, and increased wildlife activity can be a dangerous combination.
- Remain alert to your surroundings and slow down around deer or moose crossing signs, which mark places that have seen collisions before.
- Slow down when you see deer along the road, as they can move swiftly in any direction.
- Slow down if you see a deer cross the road ahead, as they’re not solitary animals and there are likely to be more coming.
- Help other drivers stay safe by flashing your headlights or emergency lights to alert them of potential hazards.
- Don’t swerve to avoid an animal. Instead, brake firmly. Swerving could cause you to lose control and hit something else, such as a tree, pole, or other vehicle.
What to Do If You Hit a Deer or Moose
- Use your hazard lights and pull your car to the side of the road if you can.
- Stay in your vehicle if possible, and don’t go near the animal. Approaching an injured deer or moose is dangerous and they may strike you out of fear.
- If you must get out of your car or truck, stay off the road and make sure you’re visible to other traffic.
- Call the police. The proper authorities will need to remove the animal from the road so it doesn’t cause a second accident.
- You’ll need to file an official DMV crash report if there is injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage.
- When in doubt, call for a tow truck, as your vehicle might not be safe to drive. A collision with a moose or deer may result in loose parts, tire damage, leaking fluids, broken lights, hood damage, and more. Always check for damage before attempting to drive away.
Whether you’re driving along a road bordered by woods and fields, or making your way through a town or village, you’ll want to be on the lookout for deer and moose to ensure that your autumn in the Adirondacks is as safe as it is enjoyable.