Delaware - Daylight savings is bringing earlier sunsets and an increased chance of hitting a deer.
Now that it is getting dark around 5 p.m., also known as rush hour, DNREC is warning drivers to be extra alert on their commutes home.
DNREC said fall is mating season for deer, meaning deer will be more active than usual. Bucks will be pursuing doe's, often right into the middle of the road.
State Farm Insurance reported that there were about 5,600 deer-related accidents from June 2016 to June 2017 in Delaware. Also, Delawareans have a 1 in 132 chance of deer-related collision compared to the national average of 1 in 162.
DNREC said they worked with Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Delaware police agencies, auto insurance companies and the Division of Fish & Wildlife to create the following list of driving tips:
- Turn your headlights on at dawn and dusk and keep your eyes on the road, scanning the sides of the road as well as what's ahead of you.
- When there is no oncoming traffic, switch to high beams to better reflect the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
- To reduce your risk of injury in a collision, always wear your seatbelt.
- Be especially aware of any distractions that might take your eyes off the road, even if only momentarily, such as cell phones, adjusting the radio, eating, or passenger activities.
- Watch for "Deer Crossing" signs that mark commonly-traveled areas, and be aware that deer typically cross between areas of cover, such as woods or where roads divide agricultural fields from woods.
- If you see a deer crossing the road ahead, slow down immediately and proceed with caution until you are past the crossing point. Deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one deer, there are likely to be others.
- Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten deer away. Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
- Do not swerve to miss a deer – brake and stay in your lane. Losing control of your vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle or leaving the roadway and hitting another obstacle such as a tree or a pole is likely to be much more serious than hitting a deer.
- If you hit a deer, stop at the scene, get your car off the road if possible and call police. Do not touch the animal or get too close; an injured deer may bite or kick, causing serious injury.
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