SHA urges caution when traveling especially at night.
Annapolis, Md (KM). It’s that time of year again: the deer mating season; and that means more deer and motor vehicle collisions. “Between now and anywhere between the Holiday’s is the time where you’re going to see deer extremely active in the overnight hours, and even during the day, but mostly in the overnight hours,” says Charlie Gischlar, a spokesman with the Maryland State Highway Administration.
He says motorists need to be extremely cautious when traveling. “They’re going into the chasing phase which is part of the rut. A lot of the hunters will tell you that the chasing phase is when you start to see them cross the road wildly,” Gischlar says.
If you happen to see a deer or a herd of deer in the middle of the road while you’re driving, SHA says don’t slam on the brakes and make a sharp turn to avoid striking them. “It’s best to go into the animal,” says Gischlar. “If you make a very aggressive move like that, the person behind you could rear-end you; or, if you cut across lanes, you could end up in a head-on collision, or in a very serious fixed object collision with a guardrail, or a tree or a pole.”
The SHA says “never VEER for a deer.”
The agency also says be aware of areas along the roads where you often see the most deer. “Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration identifies areas that we see deer crossings. We put up those ‘deer crossing’ signs; so do our counterparts in the counties. So pay attention to them. If you see a sign that says ‘deer crossing,’ there’s a known deer population there. So expect more activity this time of the year.”
Gischlar says remember that deer often travel in herds. So if you see one deer, there will probably several behind it. When out traveling, he says, use your high beams wherever possible. “The high beam will illuminate the eyes of the deer. So if you start to see movement on the side of the road, slow down, look where they are and kind of make decisions that way,” he says.
SHA also says if you or another motorist strikes a deer, never approach the injured animal. Pull your vehicle to a safe location, put on your hazard lights and call the police.
By Kevin McManus