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Delaware State Police issues deer traffic advisory

Delaware News Desk
The Delaware State Police are reminding motorists the deer rut and hunting season is in effect, hoping to prevent the spike in deer-related crashes that typically occur every fall in Delaware.
The Delaware State Police are reminding motorists the deer rut and hunting season is in effect, hoping to prevent the spike in deer-related crashes that typically occur every fall in Delaware.

The Delaware State Police are reminding motorists the deer rut and hunting season is in effect, hoping to prevent the spike in deer-related crashes that typically occur every fall in Delaware. 

The majority of deer activity resulting in crashes occur during the dusk and dawn hours.

Drivers should be careful when traveling and keep a sharp eye out for deer crossing roadways, especially at dusk. Deer are even more active due to their annual mating season “rut” in November, with bucks chasing doe through fields, marshes and woods. The average white-tailed deer in Delaware weighs approximately 130 pounds, with larger bucks weighing 180 pounds or more. With the increased white-tailed deer activity, Delaware motorists are kindly reminded to stay alert and to be ready for a deer to dart out into the roadway from dusk to dawn.

A deer crash can result in serious injury or death to drivers and passengers, as well as serious damage to a vehicle.

Attentive driving and slow speeds are the best ways to avoid deer crashes.

To reduce the risk of injury in a collision, drivers should always wear a seatbelt.

Drivers should turn headlights on at dawn and dusk and keep their eyes on the road, scanning the sides of the road as well as what’s ahead. When there is no oncoming traffic, switch to high beams to better reflect the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.

Watch for “Deer Crossing” signs that mark commonly-traveled areas, and be aware that deer typically cross between areas of cover, such as woods or where roads divide agricultural fields from woods.

If a driver sees a deer crossing the road ahead, they should slow down immediately and proceed with caution until past the crossing point. Deer usually travel in groups, so if one is spotted, there are likely to be others.

Drivers should slow down and blow their horn with one long blast to frighten deer away; don't use devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer crashes.

Highways are not more secure, despite being better lit than back roads; speeds are often higher and deer eyes are more difficult to see on highways, so drive cautiously and remain alert at all times.

Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer; rather, brake and stay in the lane. Losing control of a vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle or leaving the roadway and hitting another obstacle such as a tree or a pole is likely to be much more serious than hitting a deer.

If a deer is hit, drivers should safely get their vehicle off the roadway and immediately contact police. Do not touch the animal or get too close. A frightened and wounded deer can cause serious injury to a well-meaning person trying to “help,” resulting in bites, kicks or goring by a buck’s antlers. Keep a safe distance and wait for police to arrive.