With the earlier onset of nightfall, motorists should be prepared to encounter white-tailed deer darting onto roads across Pennsylvania, said Penn-DOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E.
"There is typically a sharp rise in the number of deer-related crashes at this time of year," Biehler said. "Motorists can reduce their risk of being involved in a crash with a deer by driving defensively and staying alert, especially when driving between dusk and dawn."
Deer are most active during the fall and particularly between sunset and sunrise. Deer also are less cautious and move around more during their breeding season.
To reduce the risk of being involved in a crash with a deer, motorists should slow down, use caution and be especially watchful during morning and evening hours. Motorists should also allow extra following distance between vehicles, particularly where deer crossing signs are posted. Since deer often travel in small herds, motorists should exercise caution when one deer crosses a roadway as it will likely be followed by others.
According to PennDOT statistics, 46 percent of all reportable crashes in the past five years involving deer occurred in the months of October and November, with nearly 78 percent occurring between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m. Last year, there were nearly 3,000 crashes statewide involving deer, resulting in more than 600 injuries and five fatalities.
The risk of having a deer-related crash further increases in October as hunters take to the woods for the opening of archery and small game seasons.
To report a dead deer on state roads, motorists can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
For more fall safety tips and other highway safety information, visit www.DriveSafePA.org .
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