The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife urge motorists to be alert for white-tailed deer with the arrival of the fall breeding season. Deer are known to be more active during morning and evening commutes, which is more hazardous due to poor visibility, according to authorities.
In the past three weeks, there were over 21 motor vehicle crashes involving deer in neighboring South Brunswick, according to police.
The DEP said breeding-related deer movement will pick up over the coming weeks, which is triggered by shorter days and cooler weather. As a result, deer spread out and move around as they search for mates.
The peak mating season in all regions of the state runs from late October into mid-December, according to the DEP. The danger is enhanced during the hours surrounding dawn and dusk, when there is increased traffic from people commuting to and from work, with lessened visibility from low light or sun glare during these times.
Commuters are urged to be alert and drive with additional caution when daylight saving time ends on Nov. 3, as commuting times are closely aligned with peak deer activity periods after that date.
Motorists are asked to alert the Department of Transportation to dead deer found along state roadways and deer crossing locations online by clicking here.
The following tips are offered to help motorists:
- If you spot a deer, slow down and pay attention to possible sudden movement. If the deer doesn’t move, don’t go around it. Wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear.
- Pay attention to “Deer Crossing” signs. Slow down when traveling through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you will have ample time to stop if necessary.
- If you are traveling after dark, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will be reflected by the eyes of deer on or near roads.
- If you see one deer, be on guard: others may be in the area. Deer typically move in family groups at this time of year and cross roads single-file. Female deer are being chased by bucks and during breeding phase are often unaware of traffic.
- Don’t tailgate. Remember: the driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
- Always wear a seatbelt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and sensible speed, taking into account weather, available lighting, traffic, curves and other road conditions.
- If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact. The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake appropriately, but stay in your lane. Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and instead collides with oncoming traffic or a fixed structure along the road.
Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.