Deer Mating Season isn’t so Romantic for Drivers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Deer Mating Season isn’t so Romantic for Drivers

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WILMINGTON, Del.— As the deer are mating this time of year, local drivers aren't so pleased with the season of love.

AAA reported a double-digit increase in deer crash claims in Delaware on Monday. The 19 percent rise in crashes during 2013 amounted to $3,268 worth of claims for the First State.

The animals are more frequently escaping the woods to flee across highways and roadways because of their excited nature.

“You can never predict when an animal will cross the path of your vehicle,” said Jim Lardear, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “However, there are some preventative measures that can be taken to help keep an ‘animal experience' from turning into a deadly encounter for the animal or the driver.”

Mating season runs until December so AAA warns all drivers, including motorcyclists to be careful specifically between sunrise and sunset.

The Delaware State Police recorded 1,110 crashes involving animals last year with 47 injuries to drivers and 1,063 damages to vehicles. No fatalities were reported.

“Motorists need to be extra vigilant no matter what road they travel, but especially those on rural, wooded roads and during commuting times which coincides with high times of deer activity. If a deer-vehicle collision is unavoidable, don't swerve out of your lane or lose control of your vehicle.” said Lardear. “Also protect yourself by always wearing a seat belt and staying alert behind the wheel.”

AAA recommends several tips to follow while driving to avoid accidents.

  • Be observant. Look for deer-crossing signs indicating areas where deer frequently travel. Deer are creatures of habit and may often use the same path again – remember where you see them.
  • Be alert. A deer standing near a roadside may suddenly run across the road. Slow down and use your horn to scare the deer. Use high-beams for greater visibility.
  • Look for groups. If you see one deer crossing the road ahead, more are likely to follow.
  • Never swerve. Instead, slow down and brake. Swerving can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and strike another vehicle or object along the roadway.
  • Use your horn. There is no conclusive evidence that hood-mounted deer whistles and other such devices work. Use your horn instead to scare the deer.
  • Slow down. If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, AAA recommends slowing down and releasing your foot from the brake before impact. This will raise the front end of the car during the crash and increase the likelihood that the animal will go underneath the vehicle instead of through the windshield.
  • Buckle up and do not speed. Lower speed will increase your reaction time.
  • Do not try to move a deer. An injured deer might panic and seriously injure you. Call police or animal control for assistance.

What to Do if You Hit a Deer

  • Drivers who hit a deer with a vehicle are not required to report the accident to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, unless they wish to claim the carcass.
  • Antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions must be turned over the Game Commission.
  • If a deer is struck by a vehicle, but not killed, drivers are urged to keep their distance because some deer may recover and move on.
  • To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call PennDOT at 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623).
  • If you hit a deer, contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Take pictures to document the accident.
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