New Yorkers who venture outside the city in their vehicles, whether heading to Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner or to look at the countryside, need to be aware of a hazard that they seldom encounter while driving within the five boroughs – deer.
According to the sheriff’s office in Ontario County, November is the biggest month for vehicle-deer crashes. In this county, law enforcement personnel investigated 211 crashes in November of 2011, and this year they are averaging around 8 to 10 daily so far in November.
How can drivers stay safe when a deer could come running onto the Thruway at any moment? Thruway Executive Director Thomas J. Madison has some tips:
- Wear your seatbelts
- Drive at or below the speed limit
- Scan the shoulders of the road
- Avoid distractions such as texting or phoning
- Know when deer are most likely to appear on the road: They come out during mating season, which is late October to early November. The deer hunting season, which begins on November 17 in the southern zone of New York state, also forces deer to stay on the move.
- Watch out for deer on rural roads as well as while driving on the Thruway or interstate
- Be especially careful in areas where there are open fields, rather than heavy woods
- Pay attention to deer-crossing signs
- Stay alert, especially between the hours of 5 and 9 PM and in the early mornings
- Use high beams when driving at night whenever possible
- Know that when you see oine deer on the roadway, others are likely to follow
- If you hit a deer, do not try to move the body off the road unless you are absolutey sure the deer is dead. Many people are hurt by injured deer hooves, which are very sharp
Following these rules can help New Yorkers unaccustomed to country driving stay safe upstate.
Source: Messenger Post, “Deer-car accident hazards highest in November,” by Erinn Cain, Nov. 12, 2012.