Watch Out! Dumb Bucks Are Endangering New York Drivers
Horny deer are starting to run around like crazy New York and it's not going to stop anytime soon.
More than 65,000 deer-related accidents happen every year in New York - and the season when you're most likely to become a statistic is finally here.
Buckle up, it's rut season.
Ever hit a deer? It is as enjoyable as having a piano dropped straight on your head. Your car does get a free fur coat, but your wallet takes a major dent.
Car repairs can be very expensive - if your vehicle even survives the ordeal. Plus you might need medical attention depending on the severity of the accident.
But, if you've never had the delight of bashing a buck with your Buick, then there's a few things you should know so you can keep it that way.
How to stay safe during rut
The majority of deer-related car collisions occur between October and December, which coincides with their mating season.
Deer tend to throw caution to the wind during rut, and will be less cautious as they search for a mate. Meaning these critters will have no problem bounding across a busy road.
However, you should know they are most likely to cross in the two hours before sunrise and after sunset.
The best way to protect yourself is to use caution during those hours by scanning the roads as you drive and reduce your speed.
New York's Department of Transportation strongly advises motorists to be aware that deer normally travel in groups, so if you see one on the road, it's best to slow down to make sure it's not being followed by friends.
Motorcyclists are especially advised to be on alert since motorcycle-deer collisions have an even higher fatality rate.
NYSDOT released its annual list of habits all drivers should adopt during this time of year:
Briefly use flashers or a headlight signal to warn approaching drivers when deer or moose are spotted in or near the highway;
Be especially alert and use caution when traveling through frequent deer or moose crossing areas, which are usually marked with “leaping stag” or moose signs;
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.
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.
But wait, there's more to worry about than deer!
Did you know we also have to be aware of moose crossings?
There's also a growing number of moose in the state and more are wandering out in front of vehicles.
The problem with moose is that they are much larger and darker than deer, making them even harder to see at night.
Their coloring and tall stature helps them to almost blend into the darkness, especially since their heads can be higher than your vehicle's headlights.
That's why NY officials strongly encourage residents to always drive with their high-beams on, since you are way more likely to see a moose on the road.
That's not all, moose-car collisions tend to be more dangerous. Since these creatures can grow up to 6 feet, 6 inches at the shoulder, the impact from a car would typically involve their legs - thus causing their body and head to hit the car's windshield and roof.
That said, it's always encouraged to slow down while driving and keep your eyes peeled on the road. You never know what what might run across it and ruin your day.
Deer are a year-round problem on the roads
Just because this is the worst season for deer strikes, that doesn't mean these critters stay off the roads during the other months.
In August, a woman was sent to the hospital after a deer ran out in front of her car onto Route 49 in Rome.
The Oneida County Sheriff's Office reports:
Upon arrival, deputies determined Janeishca Delgado-Ayala (26), of Rome, was driving a 2013 Nissan, westbound on Route 49 when she swerved to avoid a deer in the roadway and crashed in the center median area. Delgado-Ayala was transported to Rome Memorial Hospital to be evaluated for non-life threatening injuries.
The accident came as residents noted deer activity was rapidly increasing in the area. Some described the activity as odd.
According to state wildlife officials, the deer population is growing and the current estimate says the state has a population of roughly 900,000.
So, with close to a million deer ready to spring across the roads - it's best to buckle up, slow down, and don't become a statistic.