BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - This time of year is a high hazard season for deer collisions. Police are advising motorists to keep an extra eye out for wildlife on the road.
It's mating season for white-tailed deer, and the peak season for deer-vehicle accidents.
Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Fuqua said, "They do seem to be on the rise. Obviously, in the southern part of the county, it's always a part of our job."
October, November, and December are the most dangerous months for deer collisions. Police say drivers can protect themselves by paying extra attention.
Deputy Fuqua suggested, "Be wary of your surroundings. If you're in a heavily-wooded area, chances are, there's going to be more deer out. Obviously, you want to slow down; go the speed limit or less. If there's no other drivers on the road, you want to go ahead and put on your bright lights."
Sometimes, the only glimpse of a deer you'll catch is the reflection of your headlights, in its eyes. Be careful about using your high beams and horn - these may frighten deer, making them more likely to bolt into the road.
And remember, where there's one deer, there may be more.
"They do usually travel in packs, so you do want to be aware of that," Deputy Fuqua said.
Keep in mind, deer are most active at sunrise, sunset and overnight. Be especially careful when driving during these hours.
But if you do find yourself on an unavoidable collision course with a deer, your gut reaction may not be the best decision.
Deputy Fuqua said, "Generally, much more damage is going to be caused if you do slam on your brakes or try to avoid [the deer] and swerve. You might hit another car, a tree... something more serious than just the animal."
If you hit a deer, don't panic. Never try to approach or touch the animal.
"Pull over immediately to the side of the road. Call 911. Notify us. And we'll get out there as soon as we can," Deputy Fuqua said.
In 2011, more than 2,200 drivers collided with deer on the New York State Thruway, alone. On average, that's more than six car-deer crashes every day - and almost four crashes for every mile of roadway.
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