- Do take note of deer warning signs, by driving with caution at or below the posted speed limit. Such signs really are positioned only where animal crossings are likely.
- Peaks in deer related traffic collisions occur October through December, followed by May. Highest-risk periods are from sunset to midnight followed by the hours shortly before and after sunrise.
- Be aware that further deer may well cross after the ones you have noticed .
- After dark, do use full-beams when there is no opposing traffic. The headlight beam will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater driver reaction time. BUT, when a deer or other animal is noted on the road, dim your headlights as animals startled by the beam may ‘freeze’ rather than leaving the road.
- Don't overswerve to avoid hitting a deer. If a collision with the animal seems inevitable, then hit it while maintaining full control of your car. The alternative of swerving into oncoming traffic or a ditch could be even worse. An exception here may be motorcyclists, who are at particular risk when in direct collisions with animals.
- Only break sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic. Try to come to a stop as far in front of the animals as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic.
If the worst does happen, or you are first-to-the-scene when it's happened to someone else, here's the drill.
- First of all, stay calm.
- Avoid contact with the deer, its hooves or antlers.
- Call the emergency services or ask another driver to do so.
- Set up road flares [or warning triangles] if you have them in your emergency kit.
- Contact your insurance policy provider.
For a more detailed look at the issue in the UK see the excellent Deercollisions.co.uk
PS There's more read Deer Crossing Donna