(WHTM) — When the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, the risk of being involved in a deer-related car accident rises. But why is that?
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, this is due to the lead-up to deer’s breeding season, also known as the ‘rut’. This is when yearling bucks leave the area where they were born and travel to new areas. These deer can travel up to several miles in some cases. However, fully mature bucks will stay in their home regions to search for a mate.
The main time when deer do migrate is early in the morning, or at dusk, when sunlight is minimal.
This happens to be the same time when more cars will be on the road, due to daylight savings time coming to an end, which occurs on Nov. 5, 2023.
“While the peak of the whitetail rut is still a few weeks off, deer already are spending more time on the move and are bound to be crossing roads more often,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “While motorists always should remain alert while driving, it’s especially important now in the coming weeks to be on the lookout for whitetails.”
According to data from State Farm, Pennsylvania is number one when it comes to accident claims involving animals. State Farm estimates that over 1.8 million animal collision claims were filed across the industry between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023.
One thing to keep in mind while being cautious of deer crossings is that deer travel in a single file line and in groups. This means if you only see one deer, it does not mean the whole herd has crossed the road and more can be right behind the single deer.
The Commission says that drivers can reduce their chances of collisions with deer by staying alert and better understanding deer behavior- especially within the next few weeks. Just paying close attention while driving on stretches marked with “Deer Crossing” signs can make a difference.