State police issue advisory regarding deer-related crashes

SUSSEX COUNTY – Delaware State Police are advising motorists to be on the lookout for Bambi and antlered and antler-less relatives.

Of the 741 crashes in the Sussex County area investigated by state police over a recent 30-day period, 189 – or 26 percent – were animal or deer-related, according to state police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz.

State police report:

  • 24 of the 189 animal or deer-related crashes occurred in the 6 a.m. hour, around dawn;
  • 23 crashes occurred in the 5 p.m. hour, around dusk;
  • 105 of the animal or deer-related crashes occurred between 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. hours

Overall, many of these animal or deer-related crashes occurred along the main corridors of SR 1, U.S. 13 and U.S. 113 during the 6 a.m. hour and during the 5 p.m. hour, almost all of the crashes were on “secondary’ roads,” Sgt. Bratz said.

“Please be careful when traveling and keep a sharp eye out for deer crossing roadways, especially at dusk,” said Sgt. Bratz. “Deer are even more active due to their annual mating season ‘rut’ in November with bucks chasing doe through fields, marshes and woods.”

The average white-tailed deer in Delaware weighs about 130 pounds, with larger bucks tipping the scales at 180 pounds or more. With the increased white-tailed deer activity, Delaware motorists are kindly reminded to stay alert and to be ready for a deer to dart out into the roadway from dusk to dawn.

A deer crash can result in serious injury or death to you or your passengers as well as serious damage to your vehicle.

Preventive Safety Tips:

  • Attentive driving with slower speeds are the best ways to avoid deer collisions.
  • Turn your headlights on at dawn and dusk and keep your eyes on the road, scanning the sides of the road as well as what’s ahead of you. When there is no oncoming traffic switch to high beams to better reflect the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
  • To reduce your risk of injury in a collision, always wear your seatbelt.
  • Be especially aware of any distractions that might take your eyes off the road.
  • Watch for “Deer Crossing” signs that mark commonly-traveled areas, and be aware that deer typically cross between areas of cover, such as woods or where roads divide agricultural fields from woods.
  • If you see a deer crossing the road ahead, slow down immediately and proceed with caution until you are past the crossing point. Deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one deer, there are likely to be others.
  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten deer away. Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Do not swerve to miss a deer – brake and stay in your lane. Losing control of your vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle or leaving the roadway and hitting another obstacle such as a tree or a pole is likely to be much more serious than hitting a deer.
  • If you hit a deer, stop at the scene, get your car off the road if possible and call police. Do not touch the animal or get too close. “A frightened and wounded deer can cause serious injury to a well-meaning person trying to ‘help.’ You could be bitten, kicked or even gored by a buck’s antlers. Keep a safe distance and wait for troopers to arrive,” said Sgt. Bratz.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.