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Drive Safely During Deer Season

Knowing how to react can help you avoid a collision!

It's deer breeding season, the time of year when they're on the move and deer/vehicle collisions are more likely to occur. Deer are most active at dawn and dusk which is also the time of day it's harder to see them.

According to the North Jersey Deer Crash Coalition, there are approximately 7,000 reported deer/vehicle crashes in the state every year, while almost twice as many go unreported.

Encountering a deer can be both scary and dangerous. While we can’t prevent deer from darting onto the road, heeding these safe driving tips can help you avoid a collision:

Driving Smart during deer season:

  • SLOW DOWN. If you’re driving through a known deer area, slow down and observe the posted speed limit. Slowing down is your best defense and gives you more time to brake if a deer darts onto the road.
  • Watch for Deer signs are strategically posted for a reason. They alert you to areas where deer crossings often occur.
  • Deer are unpredictable and may suddenly dart in front of your vehicle. If you see eyes shining along the road, it’s time to slow down. 
  • Deer rarely travel alone. If you see one deer, chances are good that others are nearby.
  • Use your high beams whenever the road is free of oncoming traffic to increase your visibility and give you more time to react.
  • Wear your seatbelt. It’s the law in New Jersey and it can save your life in a deer/vehicle collision.

If you encounter a deer:

  • Slow down and flash your lights; if necessary, one long blast of your horn is recommended to scare them off the road and let the deer get out of your way.
  • Maintain control. Don’t swerve; it can confuse the deer and potentially cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles or it can cause you to run off the road, increasing the risk of serious injuries.

If there is a collision:

  • Call emergency services if injuries are involved.
  • Call the local police if no one is injured but there is damage to your property or someone else’s.
  • Never touch an animal in the roadway.
  • Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible.