Va. Dept. of Wildlife Resources reminds drivers to slow down for deer this fall

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 3:21 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:01 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s mating season for deer and that means you are likely to see more along the side of the road along with a rise in the number of crashes.

This is not just out in the rural areas, some drivers in the metro-Richmond area have reported car crashes within city limits!

“We got two deer and a deer that caught this one on fire,” said Cindi Tinsley as she shows off the damaged cars in her lot.

Tinsley, owner of ‘AAlways Hookin’ Towing & Tire in Powhatan, has come to expect this around this time of year – a spike in the number of crashes involving deer.

“The last 15 accidents I’ve done, 9 of them were deer,” she said. “Not very many of them were reparable.”

“Bucks, male deer, are highly active as they seek out receptive females,” said Katie Martin, a deer, bear, and turkey Biologist at the Va. Dept. of Wildlife Resources (DWR). “So, there is just a lot of deer activity, they’re moving around quite frequently and unfortunately with all that movement they just don’t stop and look before they cross the road.”

With love on the brain, Martin said it is even more important for drivers to stay focused.

“Every year we average over 5,000 deer-vehicle collisions and that is probably a well underestimate,” she added. “Those are only collisions that are reported through state police for an accident.”

If you come across a buck or doe standing in your lane, try to avoid swerving to avoid it, or the crash could become that much more severe.

“They at least move, those trees don’t,” Tinsley said. “I’ve seen them wrap around trees, in between trees. I’ve seen them Med Flight people out all because of a deer.”

The damage can be significant, which is why Tinsley said it’s best to have that extra insurance coverage.

“Comprehensive covers things like deer or broken windshields or things like that,” she said.

Dusk to dawn is when deer activity heightens and if you see one, don’t assume it’s alone.

“You’re likely to have another one following behind it,” Martin said. “So just because one crosses the road, it’s great to slow down, there may be more following behind it.”

The DWR also provided other tips to avoid hitting a deer:

  • Slow down and be attentive, particularly at night (from dusk to dawn).
  • Deer habitually travel and crossroads in the same areas. Use caution when you see deer crossing signs installed in these areas by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
  • Apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid hitting a deer, but do not swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
  • Always wear a seat belt! Even if a collision is unavoidable, you are more likely to avoid injury or death if you are wearing a seat belt.
  • If you hit or kill a deer or bear while driving, immediately report the accident to a Conservation Police Officer or other law enforcement officer in the county or city where the accident occurred.
  • If you kill a deer or bear while driving, you may keep it for your own use if you report the accident to a local law enforcement officer where the accident occurred and the

Tinsley said now would also be a good time to check and see what your car insurance covers.

For more information about deer/vehicle safety, click here.

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