Safe Driving at the Height of Deer Season

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(WTNH) — New England really shines in the fall.  It’s beautiful to drive down the road and stare at all the nice foliage. However, with the peak of fall foliage season in much of the region, comes an increase in deer strikes on cars. So, how can you avoid having that happen to you?  Sam Kantrow investigated the risks, and what you need to do to minimize your risk on the road.

Deer are in the Connecticut woods and pose a hazard to motorists all year round, but fall is mating season, and deer activity hits a peak. This means an increased sighting of deer, and increased work for collision repair shops like North Haven Auto Body in North Haven.

“We’re starting to see [more deer strikes] now. Right now it’s the more minor ones, in the next couple weeks, we’ll see the more major ones come in”, says Bob McSherry, the owner of North Haven Auto Body.

With the warmer than normal conditions this past year, deer are more active and visible. Statistics show the worst time of the day for deer strikes this time of the year are during the morning and evening commutes: around dawn and dusk and a deer strike can have costly results.

Says McSherry, “Deer strikes can be either a broken headlight, a smack on the bumper, breaking off a mirror, to a full front-end impact where they’re flipping into the windshield and coming into the passenger compartment, which we have seen before. We’ve done deer strikes [that cost] more than twenty thousand in damage.”

So, what can you actually do to help avoid a deer strike on your car? Well, the best advice is to just slow down. The slower your speed is, the more time you will have to react if a deer does jump in front of your car.

Deer also frequently travel in groups, so where you see one, there are often more nearby that you don’t see.

If you are driving at night, use your high beams to increase your viewing distance on the road (and don’t forget to dim them for oncoming traffic!). Also, pay attention to the sides of the road and if you notice anything shiny or reflective, it could be a deer’s eyes looking in your direction.

Finally, don’t swerve or hit the horn if you do see a deer coming in front of you. This will likely confuse the animal, increasing the risk of an impact.

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