Deer on road
DNR advises motorists to be cautious in the fall months to avoid collisions with deer. (Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce)

Motorists urged to be extra cautious during fall months to avoid deer collisions

FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources urges motorists to exercise caution while driving during the fall months because vehicle collisions with deer typically increase during this time of year.

“Because West Virginia has an abundant white-tailed deer population, there are more opportunities for collisions, especially during the peak breeding season in October and November when deer are more active,” said Tyler Evans, DNR Wildlife Resources Section wildlife biologist. “On average, about 40 percent of deer-vehicle collisions in West Virginia take place between October and December.”

The state’s rugged terrain also contributes to collisions, as high-quality deer habitat often is in valleys where conditions allow for agricultural production and more natural food sources. Winding, hilly roads bordered by forests also reduce the distance drivers can see animals ahead, increasing the chances of collisions.

DNR urges motorists to observe the following driving tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and make use of your peripheral vision. If you see a deer in the roadway, immediately reduce your speed and honk your horn using short blasts.
  • Drive with your headlights on and use high beams whenever it is safe to do so.
  • Drive at a reduced speed, especially during early morning and late evening hours when deer are more active.
  • Do not swerve or leave your lane to avoid a deer. If you encounter a deer, press your brake pedal firmly and attempt to stop.
  • Always drive defensively.

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