It seems like everyone has a story about hitting a deer with their car or truck, especially in the Adirondacks – if it hasn’t happened to you, it’s likely been an incident for someone you know. Here’s why you should watch out for both deer and moose when out driving at this time of year.
It’s Breeding Season Out There
This period we’re in now of late fall/early winter is breeding season for deer and moose, and the animals are more inclined to be on or near public roads, say the DEC and DMV. Moose in particular are known to wander around looking for mates, causing them to be in areas where they are not usually found.
Moreover, 41% of car crashes involving vehicles and deer in this state in 2021 occurred during the months of October, November, and December, according to the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research.
Drivers in the Adirondacks and surrounding regions are asked to keep an eye out while on the roads, although, “regardless of where you live, all motorists should keep an eye out and be aware that wildlife can cross their paths,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.
Tips on Avoiding Animal Collisions – And What to Do if They Do Happen
Here are some quick tips from the DEC’s recent bulletin:
- Watch for deer-crossing signs along roadways, as they indicate deer have been active/have collided with cars in that location.
- Decrease speed when you approach deer that are near roadsides, as they can bolt or change direction suddenly.
- Decrease speed if you see a deer go across the road – they often travel in groups, and more may be coming.
- Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk – this is when animals tend to be active and visibility tends to be reduced.*
*Although it’s easy to think you can’t miss a moose on the road, you can. They are very difficult to see at night because of their dark coloring, and their head and a good portion of the body tend to be above vehicle headlights.
If you do encounter an animal on the road brake firmly, but do not swerve. If you do hit the animal, pull over to a safe space on the side of the road and call the police. It’s advised to stay away from the animal. Let the police know if the incident is blocking traffic.
And finally, don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Check for leaking fluid, loose parts, broken lights, a non-latching hood, and other safety hazards. Call a tow truck if necessary.
You can find more information about deer and moose on the DEC’s website, and on safe driving tips from the DMV. Stay safe driving, and enjoy (from a distance) any wildlife sightings.