Charleston, WV (WOAY) – The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) advises drivers to be cautious as October through December is the peak season for animal collisions.
Fall is the breeding season for deer, resulting in increased movements, especially during dusk and dawn. Drivers must be especially alert during this time of year as deer and other animals will be present near roadways.
To avoid an animal collision, the GHSP offers these safety tips:
- Be alert, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are more active.
- Be extra vigilant and reduce vehicle speed near wooded areas or green spaces, such as parks and golf courses, and near water sources, such as streams and ponds.
- Pay attention to “deer crossing” signs, as they indicate areas where several vehicle-deer collisions have taken place in the past; be extra cautious in these areas.
- If you see one deer, expect others, as deer typically travel in herds.
- Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic and scan the roadway for the reflective eyes of deer and other animals. Flicking your high beams on an animal in the road may cause the animal to run away. High beams also help illuminate dark streets.
- Always wear a seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats, as these are the best defenses in any collision.
- Put your phone away while you’re driving. Distracted driving is as deadly as impaired driving and is illegal.
- Never drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no drivers behind you, brake hard.
- Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer. If a car crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don’t veer off the road. The most severe collisions can occur when motorists turn into oncoming traffic and collide with another car, or run off the road, hit objects, or overturn.
If a collision occurs, move your vehicle to the shoulder of the roadway, and call local law enforcement at 911 or the West Virginia State Police at *77. Remain in your car with your seat belt fastened.
If a secondary collision occurs, drivers and passengers are safest inside their vehicles and wearing seat belts.
A non-hunting tag must be obtained from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) to remove a deer carcass or any part of a deer from a crash site.
Contact information for local DNR districts is listed in West Virginia’s hunting regulations which can be found at wvdnr.gov. If the crash occurs after normal office hours, drivers may call the next day.
For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit highwaysafety.wv.gov or call 304-926-2509.