November Begins Rut Season: Drivers Beware
The rut season has begun for bucks across North America; and drivers are the ones in danger.
The rut season, is really deer mating season; when a buck seeks out an attractive doe to...you know. Because male deer are so quick to hop across the street on any given time and day, drivers are advised to slow down on the roads during this time of year.
Here are tips to avoid hitting a deer on the road, courtesy of Journal Sentinel News:
- Be especially vigilant in early morning and evening hours when deer are most active.
- Slow down and eliminate distractions
- Always wear a seat belt. "There are fewer and less severe injuries in crashes when all vehicle occupants wear safety belts," according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
- If you see a deer along the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the animal away.
- When one deer appears, look for more. Deer seldom run alone.
- If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don't expect it to move away. "Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze," the DOT says.
- Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.
- Do not swerve. "Swerving can confuse the deer as to where to run, and can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle and result in a much more serious crash," according to the DOT.
- The one exception is if you are operating a motorcycle, in which case you should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. "Try to stay within your lane if at all possible to avoid hitting other objects."
- Areas that are prone to deer crossings and/or crashes are often marked with signs. Be especially aware in those areas, said Chief Peter Hoell of the Germantown Police Department.
- Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, says Canada State Farm Insurance (now Desjardins Insurance Agents*). "They are not proven effective," the insurer says.
If a deer crosses the street in front of the car, do not swerve. This may cause injuries and/or fatalities. Transportation personnel are encouraged to install deer fencing on roads and major highways to keep drivers safe from deer-driver collisions.