Deer and Drivers Are a Deadly Mix in Western Pennsylvania
You're driving down the road and you see a familiar sign – a yellow diamond with a leaping buck in the middle. Don't ignore it – stay alert for deer on the road.
Our state had the most deer-related car accidents in 2011 and ranks fifth in the nation in likelihood of hitting a deer. In the past month, there have been three accidents, two of them fatal, involving western PA drivers and deer.
November is the most dangerous month when it comes to deer-vehicle crashes. Mating and hunting seasons and the end of daylight-savings time create a recipe for danger, according to experts. In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, a Pennsylvania State Trooper offers this advice if you have a close encounter with a deer: "Don't swerve. Use your brakes." I'd also add:
- Always heed deer crossing signs.
- Remember that deer movement is at its highest at dawn and in the late afternoon and early evening.
- Use your high beams when you can.
- If you spot one deer, be on alert for more because they travel in herds.
There were 3,403 deer-vehicle collisions in the state last year, up from 3,161 the year before. Numbers are expected to go up again this year. Please be careful, pay attention to your surroundings, and as a PennDOT official said, "Expect the unexpected."