Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace reminds motorists to be especially careful when traveling on our highways. The deer migration and mating season occurs during the months of October, November and December and more car-deer accidents occur during these months. November is the peak month for car-deer accidents in Chautauqua County. As of the morning of November 15th, 70 car-deer accidents have been reported to the Sheriff’s Office from November 1st to the 15th (4.6 per day).
Car-deer accidents can be traumatic, expensive and sometimes very dangerous. Sheriff Gerace advises motorist to reduce their speed. Slowing down is one of the most effective ways to avoid car-deer collisions in addition to:
• Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas;
• Scan the sides of the road looking for deer activity;
• Remember that deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.;
• Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways;
• Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds — if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby;
• Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles;
• If a deer collision seems inevitable, trying to swerve out of the way could make you lose control of your vehicle or move into the path of an oncoming vehicle, tree or other fixed object.
If a crash is unavoidable:
• Don’t swerve. Brake firmly, stay in your lane, hold onto the steering wheel and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop;
• Pull off the road. Turn on your emergency flashers and be cautious of other traffic if you leave your vehicle;
• Don’t attempt to remove a deer from the roadway unless you are convinced it is dead. An injured deer’s sharp hooves can easily hurt you;
• Report the crash to the nearest police agency and your insurance agent. Car-deer crashes are typically covered under the comprehensive portion of the insurance policy; and
• Police or DNR conservation officers may issue you a permit if you want to keep the deer.