Jenny O'Quinn 804-225-4984
Marshall M. Herman 804-692-2134
Nov. 3, 2015
DEER ALERT! IT’S DEER-MATING SEASON, SO VDOT URGES DRIVERS TO WATCH FOR WILDLIFE IN THE ROAD
Digital messages to be posted on Afton Mountain to help reduce deer-vehicle collisions
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia drivers have a 1-in-97 chance of hitting a deer, according to recent insurance industry claims data for July 2014 through June 2015, ranking the state 10th in the nation for deer-vehicle collisions.
Motorists could see those odds increase as deer-mating season gears up now through December. The three-month mating season can lure many unsuspecting deer onto state roadways, mostly between dusk and dawn, and they are oblivious to the danger of high-speed vehicles.
“Collisions with animals typically cause a good deal of damage to vehicles, and can also cause injury to drivers and their passengers,” said Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick, “It’s very important for motorists to stay alert to their surroundings this time of year, especially when traveling at dusk or dawn.”
VDOT research aims to reduce deer-vehicle collisions
While VDOT always asks drivers to watch for wildlife on the road year-round and especially in the fall, the agency is working to help reduce the frequency of animal-vehicle collisions. VDOT has studied various cost-effective measures to protect both drivers and animals along major wildlife corridors that crisscross Virginia’s roads and highways.
New VDOT research, which analyzed three years of wildlife activity near Interstate 64 on Afton Mountain, recommends posting messages on electronic signs along I-64 in this area to alert drivers to increased deer activity in the fall. VDOT began posting these alerts on Monday, Oct. 26, on permanent signs in this section of I-64 between dusk and dawn through November, when deer are most active near the highway.
The report evaluating strategies to reduce deer-vehicle collisions – by the Virginia Transportation Research Council, VDOT’s research division – is available at http://vtrc.virginiadot.org/PubDetails.aspx?PubNo=16-R4.
How to avoid a deer-vehicle collision
Deer generally travel in groups. If you see one deer near or on the road, watch out for others nearby.
More driver tips:
- Drive the speed limit or reduce your speed when you see deer-warning signs
- Watch for deer between dusk and dawn, especially from October through December
- Use bright headlights when appropriate
- Watch for animal eyes illuminated by headlights
- Maintain control of your vehicle when you see a deer, to avoid veering into oncoming traffic or off the road
- Always wear your seatbelt
If you hit a deer, you should contact law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. If the animal is dead, you can keep the carcass after you have reported the accident, and an officer has seen the animal and provided a certificate of possession.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.