DSP Talks Deer-related Crashes

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12Staff Report

The Delaware State Police (DSP) have investigated 741 crashes in the Sussex County area in the last 30 days with 189 or 26% of the total crashes being animal or deer-related. According to DSP, 24 of the 189 animal or deer-related crashes occurred in the 6 am hour at dawn, 23 crashes occurred in the 5 pm hour at dusk and 105 of the animal or deer-related crashes occurred between 5 pm to 11 pm hours.

Overall, many of these animal or deer-related crashes occurred along the main corridors of SR 1, U.S. Route 13 and U.S. Route 113 during the 6:00 a.m. hour and during the 5 pm hour, almost all of the crashes were on secondary roads. Troopers ask that drivers be careful when traveling and keep a sharp eye out for deer crossing roadways, especially at dusk. Deer are even more active due to their annual mating season rut in November with bucks chasing doe through fields, marshes and woods. The average white-tailed deer in Delaware weighs about 130 pounds, with larger bucks tipping the scales at 180 pounds or more. With the increased white-tailed deer activity, Delaware motorists are reminded to stay alert and to be ready for a deer to dart out into the roadway from dusk to dawn. A deer crash can result in serious injury or death to you or your passengers as well as serious damage to your vehicle.

Safety Tips That May Help Prevent Deer Crashes:

– Attentive driving with slower speeds are the best ways to avoid deer collisions.

– Turn your headlights on at dawn and dusk and keep your eyes on the road, scanning the sides of the road as well as what’s ahead of you. When there is no oncoming traffic, switch to high beams to better reflect the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.

– To reduce your risk of injury in a collision, always wear your seatbelt.

– Be especially aware of any distractions that might take your eyes off the road.

– Watch for “Deer Crossing” signs that mark commonly-traveled areas, and be aware that deer typically cross between areas of cover, such as woods or where roads divide agricultural fields from woods.

– If you see a deer crossing the road ahead, slow down immediately and proceed with caution until you are past the crossing point. Deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one deer, there are likely to be others.

– Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten deer away. Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

State troopers also state that drivers should not swerve to miss a deer but brake and stay in their lane. Losing control of your vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle or leaving the roadway and hitting another obstacle such as a tree or a pole is likely to be much more serious than hitting a deer. If drivers hit a deer, Troopers state that they should stop at the scene, get their car off the road if possible and call police. Drivers should not touch the animal or get too close. A frightened and wounded deer can cause serious injury to a well-meaning person trying to help. Individuals can be bitten, kicked or even gored by a buck’s antlers. Troopers ask that drivers Keep a safe distance and wait for an officer to arrive.