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Old 09-17-2010, 04:32 PM
Howard Hartman Howard Hartman is offline
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Default State Highway Administration is Trying to Get You Out of a "Rut" This Fall



State Highway Administration is Trying
to Get You Out of a "Rut" This Fall


Deer Mating Season is around the Corner;
Motorists Should Drive with Extra Caution
between Sunset and Sunrise

(September 17, 2010) 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.

The season in which deer-vehicle collisions are more frequent is fall-early winter. This is when deer populations enter their mating season known as "the rut." Rutting deer will move wildly across roadways for mating and often travel in herds.

"Motorists must pay particularly close attention near wooded, suburban and rural areas due to increasing deer crossings," said Neil J. Pederson, SHA Administrator. "Although some collisions are unavoidable, some tips to keep in mind can help greatly reduce your chances of striking a deer."

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. Along I-97 in Crownsville, Anne Arundel County, the deer population in the wooded areas on each side of the highway is significant. SHA has developed a series of underground culverts large enough to act as animal crossings. SHA biologists have seen deer tracks in these locations, which is a welcome sign that deer are traveling under the road rather than across it. 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.

Last edited by Howard Hartman; 09-21-2010 at 10:43 PM.
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