VDOT reminding drivers to be alert during deer season

Deer mating season means increased traffic risks

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Love is in the air for deer which is sweet for them, yet dangerous for us on the roads.

There was even a report of a collision between a car and a deer Wednesday evening.

“Keep your eyes opened at all times, especially since we’re seeing so many going through the yards,” said Chesterfield Resident Dave Damcott.

Damcott knows a thing or two about sharing the roads with deer during mating season. He’s spent the past 23 years in Chesterfield home snapping photos of them in his yard.

"It’s been quite an active year,” said Damcott “We’ve seen a lot going through our yards. Last night we saw about 14 of them in a neighbor’s backyard just walking through.”

Damcott said he’s never collided with a deer, but he’s not letting his guard down for an instant when driving through Chesterfield County’s back roads.

The Virginia Department of Transportation echoed that same sentiment in press release Wednesday. VDOT said the greatest likelihood of collisions with animals occurs from October through December. During that time deer will be most active between dusk and dawn, so it’s important to pay special attention from 6-9 p.m.

(NBC12)

November is when the highest number of animal collisions occur. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, insurance claims for animal collisions are more than twice as high in November.

After evaluating strategies to reduce deer-vehicle collisions, fences were installed along stretches of I-64 in Albemarle County, where it is known to have regular wildlife activity. Located on both sides of the road, the fences keep animals from crossing and guide them to underpasses where they can safely get to the other side of the interstate.

VDOT also posts deer advisory messages on its changeable message signs along a 16.7 mile segment of I-64 between Waynesboro and Charlottesville.

Locally, VDOT is urging drivers to drive the speed limit or reduce speed when deer warning signs are visible. They advise using bright headlights when appropriate and watch for animal eyes illuminated by headlights.

VDOT said deer tend to travel in packs so if you spot one, it’s likely that there are more nearby. Maintain control of your vehicle when you see a deer to avoid veering into oncoming traffic or off the road, and always wear your seat belt

These tips may sound like common sense, but a simple reminder could mean the difference between a safe ride home.

“Be alert, otherwise you’re going to hit one,” said Damcott.

If you hit a deer, contact law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the crash 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.

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