Fairfax County wildlife officials want drivers to know that deer breeding season means an increased number of deer crossing the road.
From the Fairfax County Police Department:
Deer movements and behaviors may be unpredictable and deer-vehicle collisions are a serious public safety concern. November and December, statistically, have the highest number of crashes involving deer in Fairfax County and police warn residents to be aware.
In 2012, there were 27 crashes involving deer in the month of November, and a total of 140 deer-related crashes over the entire year. In 2013, there have been 118 deer-vehicle crashes so far.
The Fairfax County wildlife biologist and police urge motorists to be alert, drive with caution and remember these safety tips:
Watch for eye shine along roadsides. Deer travel in herds so if you see one, others may be near. Use high beams when traffic permits to spot them at a greater distance. Deer are most active between 6 and 9 pm. Deer crossing signs mark areas of high deer travel. Immediately begin to slow vehicle if you spot a deer.
If a deer jumps in your vehicle’s path, continue to reduce speed and grasp steering wheel firmly with both hands.
If a deer is stopped in the roadway, reduce speed and flash your headlights.Deer can become mesmerized or blinded by bright steady lights.
If a collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause loss of control and increase the chance of a more serious injury.This applies to all smaller animals, too.
Never depend on hood whistles, car horns, or other devices to scare deer out of your path.Several studies have shown that these methods do not always work.
If a deer is injured or killed, contact Fairfax County Police Department (non-emergency) at 703-691-2131.
Photo of car damaged by collision with a deer courtesy of Fairfax County Police.
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