Be Alert for Deer

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
News Release: 12/297/LHC/
October 2, 2012

Be Alert For Deer


            It’s that time of year again: “rutting season.” Deer are especially active during the months of October and November so residents can expect to have increased encounters with local deer.

            As of July 2012, there have been 59 non-reportable deer-related vehicle crashes in Fairfax County. There have also been 31 reportable (damage over $1,500. dollars) collisions involving animals, predominately deer, as of mid-September 2012. Police caution motorists to stay alert for deer in the roadways and learn more about deer to decrease their chances of a deer/vehicle crash.

            Know Deer Behaviors:

§  Deer are especially active pre-dawn to mid-morning and dusk to early evening. These periods of activity correspond with the time when many Fairfax County residents are going to and from work or school.

Ø  Deer breeding season runs October through December. Adult deer are highly mobile and especially active during the rut.

§  Deer typically travel in herds. If you see one, there are likely several more nearby.

Ø  Deer can be found throughout Fairfax County. Deer are edge species that easily survive in suburban areas and more natural areas including heavily wooded areas.

Be Alert when Driving:

Ø  Always drive the posted speed limit. The more conservative you are with your speed, the more time you will have to brake if a deer runs across the road.

Ø  Always wear your seat belt when in a vehicle. Severe injuries and/or fatalities are more likely to occur when belts aren’t worn.

Ø  Use high-beams when there is no oncoming traffic to improve your visibility. You will have a better view of adjacent woodland edges and open fields.

Ø  Be aware of posted “Deer Crossing” signs. Signs are placed in areas known for high deer traffic and/or deer-vehicle collisions.

Ø  Be aware of “Deer Crossing” variable sign boards. Mobile sign boards are placed in areas known for high deer traffic and/or high deer-vehicle collisions.

Be Prepared for Deer Encounters:

Ø  Watch for eye shine along roadsides. Immediately begin to slow your vehicle if you spot a deer.


Ø  Reduce speed and grasp the steering wheel firmly with both hands. You never know when a deer will attempt to cross a road. Deer can be unpredictable animals.


Ø  If deer is frozen on the road, reduce speed and flash your headlights. Deer can become mesmerized or blinded by bright steady lights.


Ø  Never rely on hood whistles, car horns, or other devices to scare deer. Studies have shown these do not work.


Ø  Never swerve to avoid deer on the road. Swerving can cause loss of control of your vehicle and greatly increase chance of more serious damage or injury.

Take your foot off the brake at time of impact. This action reduces the likelihood of deer crashing through a windshield or windows upon impact

If the animal is injured or killed, report the collision through the FCPD  non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.

To learn more about deer activity in Fairfax County, check



To request this information in an alternate format, call the Public Affairs Bureau at 703.246.2253. TTY 703-877-3715

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