Driving in deer country

November 04, 2009 05:00 am

We’ve noticed an uptick in the number of dead dear on the side of local roads, and the number of vehicle versus deer reports in the Curry Coastal Pilot Police Log. It’s a sad reality of living in a rural area.

This time of year, the number of deer accidents increases because it is mating season – which means deer are on the move and less cautious about darting into the road, according to wildlife and highway officials.

Drivers should be extra vigilant this time of year and follow these tips, provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation, for driving in deer country:

•Be particularly attentive between sunset and midnight, during the hours shortly before and after sunrise, and in foggy conditions. Most deer-vehicle collisions occur during those times.

•Drive carefully in areas known to have high deer populations. Places where roads divide agricultural fields or streams from forestland are particularly dangerous.

•If you see a deer, slow down. Others are probably nearby, and often behind the first one that crosses your path.

•Use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams can reflect off deer eyes and warn you of their presence.

•If a deer is in your lane, brake firmly but stay in the lane. The most serious crashes occur when drivers swerve.

•Don’t rely on deer whistles, deer fences, or reflectors to deter deer.

•Wear seat belts.

•If your car strikes a deer, don’t touch the animal. If the deer is blocking the highway, call 911 quickly.