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by jmaloni

Taken from Nov. 8 Island Dispatch

Sat, Nov 16th 2013 07:00 am

It is that time of year when it is important to watch for deer, while driving. Deer breeding and hunting season is upon us and deer are very active.

With a statewide deer population of approximately 900,000, there are an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 deer-vehicle collisions that occur throughout New York State each year.

To avoid a collision with a deer, drivers should reduce speed and watch for their presence on or near the highway. Here are more specific precautions to help prevent such accidents:

•Use caution when driving at dawn or dusk and scan roads and roadsides ahead;

•Reduce your speed at night and use high beams when possible;

•Be sure all vehicle occupants wear seat belts and children are properly restrained in child safety seats;

•Slow down when approaching deer or moose standing near the roadside, as they may suddenly bolt into the road;

•Deer often travel in pairs or groups, so if deer are spotted crossing the road, slow down and be alert that others may follow;

•Briefly use flashers or a headlight signal to warn approaching drivers when deer are spotted in or near the highway;

•Be especially alert and use caution when traveling through frequent deer crossing areas, which are usually marked with "leaping stag";

•Do not rely on devices, such as deer whistles, extra lights or reflectors, to deter deer. Research has shown that your best defense is your own responsible behavior;

•Motorcyclists should be especially alert for deer as motorcycle-deer collisions have a higher fatality rate; and

•If a deer does run in front of your vehicle, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a vehicle-vehicle collision or cause the vehicle to strike a pedestrian or potentially deadly fixed object, such as a tree or utility pole.

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