NEW JERSEY – Ocean and Monmouth counties have many rural wooded areas where deer migrate and with the arrival of Fall motorists are reminded to drive with extra caution as deer mating season has begun and darkness comes earlier.
The White-tailed deer become more active during mating season, also known as the fall rut. During this time of year deer are more likely to suddenly run onto roadways as bucks pursue does, risking the possibility of a collision with a vehicle.
The increase of deer activity is expected to occur in the very early morning hours and around sunset when visibility can be difficult.
Local law enforcement agencies have provided the following tips that can help motorists stay safe during the fall rut:
- If you see a deer, slow down and pay attention to possible sudden movement. If the deer is in the road
and doesn’t move, wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear. Do not try to maneuver around the deer.
- Pay attention to “Deer Crossing” signs. Slow down when traveling through areas known to have a high
concentration of deer so you have ample time to stop if necessary.
- If you are traveling after dark, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead.
High beams will be reflected by the eyes of deer on or near roads. If you see one deer, assume that others
may be in the area.
- Deer typically move in family groups during this time of year and cross roads single-file.
- Don’t tailgate. Remember: The driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a
- Always wear a seatbelt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and sensible speed, accounting for weather,
available lighting, traffic, curves and other road conditions.
- If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact. The deer may counter-maneuver
suddenly. Brake appropriately and stay in your lane.
- Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and instead collides
with oncoming traffic or a fixed structure along the road.
- Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.
- Obey the state’s hands-free device law or refrain from using cellular devices while driving.