It happens in an instant. Driving through a suburban or rural area and a deer jumps in your path. What do you do? The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is providing tips to help avoid crashes involving deer and other nocturnal animals….
Here are some tips to minimize the risk of hitting a deer:
• Be extra attentive between sunset and sunrise – this is when deer primarily feed;
• Use your high beams when appropriate to illuminate the eyes of deer;
• “Never veer for deer” – brake firmly but do not jerk the steering wheel. Sudden movements could cause a more serious crash with a fixed object or another motorist;
• Be cautious—if you see one deer it’s likely part of a herd;
• Obey deer crossing signs placed in areas known for high deer populations;
• Always wear your seat belt;
• Avoid distractions like cell phones, food and radios; and always
• Always drive sober.
If a collision is unavoidable and you do hit a deer, be sure to consider the following:
• Do not touch the deer. An injured deer can hurt you and further injure itself;
• If possible, move your car off to a safe location to avoid a secondary crash with another vehicle; and
• Call the police and try to be as specific as possible about the location.
Over the years, SHA has used some innovative approaches to assist with the high number of deer crossings.
…In Garrett County, SHA recently installed high fencing to not only prevent deer from crossing, but also Black Bear and other large animals.
Residents or motorists that notice a deer that has been struck should log onto roads.maryland.gov and click “Contact Us” for an online service submission form to have the animal removed. A complete list of SHA’s maintenance shops is also located on the website.