Local News

DOT warns motorists to keep an eye out for deer

Posted October 5, 2012

Wake Forest residents are complaining that deer treat their gardens like a buffet.

— As temperatures cool and the fall season kicks in, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to be more aware of deer on the roads.

Nearly half of all deer-related automobile accidents happen in the months of October, November and December, which coincide with hunting and mating seasons, DOT officials said.

Although the animals can wander onto roadways at any time of day, the most common time for deer-related accidents is between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. About 86 percent of deer-car collisions happen during these hours, when deer are most active and drivers have limited light to see them, DOT spokesman Jerry Higgins said.

Ninety percent of the 19,500 animal-related automobile crashes in North Carolina last year involved deer, Higgins said.

In the last three years, 3,498 people have been injured in deer-related accidents, leading to 17 deaths and $139.1 million in damage.

"More deer are being seen in densely populated areas," state traffic engineer Kevin Lacy said. "Drivers need to be alert at all times."

Wake County had the most deer-related accidents in 2011, with 1,105 collisions, according to NCDOT data. Duplin County was second, with 646 crashes.

In order to avoid a deer-related accident, NCDOT recommends slowing down in wooded areas and marked deer crossing areas. Deer often travel in groups, meaning the road may not be clear if one deer has passed. Drive with high beams on when possible, and look for the reflection of eyes in the headlights, officials said

Drivers who swerve to avoid hitting a deer could cause a more serious crash or confuse the deer, officials said. Allowing more space between vehicles will also decrease the likelihood of involving more cars in an accident with a deer.

"If you can't avoid a deer, it is better to hit it than to lose control of your vehicle and cause a bigger accident," Lacy said.

Most deer-related accidents occur near bridges or overpasses. Deer also follow streams, railroad tracks and ditches, the spokesman said. NCDOT recommends letting out one long car horn blast if a deer is spotted, which should encourage the deer to run away.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • fishon Oct 8, 2012

    dgcreech So you were able to hit the brakes for a deer, then speed up so it would hit your car lower and keep it from coming into the windshield.

    As someone who has had several deer vs car episodes in which there is zero time to react, yours is one of the most ridiculous comments I have ever read with regards to hitting a deer with a vehicle.

  • btneast Oct 8, 2012

    We brought the deer here several years ago, because some liberals thought they looked nice in the woods and fields,,,

    What???? The deer have always been here, no one brought deer into this area.....

  • Rdubya Oct 8, 2012

    A deer can become a 100 (plus) lb. projectile when colliding with a vehicle. Be careful out there folks.

  • mautry Oct 5, 2012

    i agree with willemakeit, bicyclists are far more dangerous. they don't pay attention to horns (no pun) either

  • Mustange Oct 5, 2012

    Down here running deer with dogs causes deer hunters and deer accidents. Dogs run deer out into traffic hunters in trucks all over the highways etc. Dog hunting should be banned 20 years ago not so bad but now days with the woods thinning out not to good. Climb a stand and still hunt.

  • oleguy Oct 5, 2012

    Need to increase hunting limits,,, We brought the deer here several years ago, because some liberals thought they looked nice in the woods and fields,,, With no natural enemies they really exploded in population,, Now we suffer major $$$$ in auto damage,,,

  • WooHoo2You Oct 5, 2012

    Actually, the greater threat to motorists are bicyclists and those little DUI scooters.-willemakeit

    Strange, I have never left 20+ feet of my tire on the pavement for either of those but have countless times a deer…

  • Big Mike Oct 5, 2012

    Had a buck run out in front of me twoo weeks ago at full speed while I was traveling 45 mph on Russell Rd in North Durham...talk about deer in the head light look..I could count the hair on it's head it was that close to landing on my hood...I have no clue how I missed him..think my BP went to about 200 for a few minutes...that was close!

  • dgcreech Oct 5, 2012

    Blowing the horn really doesn't help, it confuses them more unfortunately. I did learn though - with most current vehicles on the road today, when you jam on the brakes, your bumper goes lower. The lower it is (with today's designs of sloped hoods) you have a higher chance of a deer coming into your windshield. If you are able to think quickly enough, you should indeed hit the brake hard (to stop quickly) but if you know you will hit it, you should dramatically accelerate. This will raise your bumper, and that portion of your vehicle will take the brunt force of the impact with a much lower risk of the animal coming into your vehicle. It worked for me!

  • Outlaw Josey Wales Oct 5, 2012

    Extend the hunting season and remove all bag limits. The deer hunters will take care of the problem.