White-tailed deer are on the move as breeding season is here. If you drive, you may see increased numbers of deer on and near roadways. Here’s some key information to know and share.
- If a deer is injured or killed, immediately report the collision to the police department non-emergency number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.
- If you come across dead deer on a roadway that needs to be removed, please contact VDOT at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623), TTY 711, or use VDOT’s online work request.
There’s plenty of proof that collisions with these four-legged creatures can pose a threat on our roadways.
- Approximately 50 percent of all deer-vehicle collisions generally occur during the months of October, November and December.
- There have been almost 400 reportable deer-vehicle collisions in the past five years.
- In 2014, over 1,100 deer carcasses were picked up on county roadways. This year, almost 900 have been picked up so far.
- According to a September 2015 State Farm report, Virginia has the 10th highest rate in the nation for deer-vehicle collisions. The odds that a Virginia driver will have an insurance claim in 2015 as the result of a collision is 1 out of 97.
Here are 10 driving safety tips to keep in mind:
- Be especially attentive at dusk and dawn, which are prime time for deer movement.
- Watch for eye shine along roadsides. Deer travel in herds. If you see one, others may be near.
- Use high beams when traffic permits to spot deer at a greater distance.
- Be aware of posted “Deer Crossing” signs. Signs are placed in areas known for high deer traffic and/or deer-vehicle collisions.
- 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 deer jumps in your vehicle’s path, continue to reduce speed and grasp steering wheel firmly with both hands.
- Never swerve to avoid deer on the road. Swerving can cause loss of control of your vehicle and greatly increase the chance of more serious damage or injury.
- Take foot off brake at time of impact. This action reduces the likelihood of deer crashing through a windshield or windows upon impact.
- 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.
- Always drive the posted speed limit and wear your seat belt.
In its 17th year, our deer management program helps reduce the overabundant local white-tailed deer population. One recent method approved in 2010 is an archery program that’s conducted in parks and other locations throughout the county. This season’s archery program runs through Feb. 20, 2016.