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Motorists urged to be on lookout for deer

RALEIGH ó To help decrease the number of wildlife related automobile crashes, the N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be aware of the increased presence of deer on North Carolina’s roads during fall months.
More than 15,500 animal-related crashes are reported each year, 90 percent involving deer. Since 2006, the incidents have resulted in 3,236 injuries to people, of which 18 were fatal, and nearly $126 million in property damage.
“Drivers need to stay focused and alert at all times, but especially this time of year when it is getting darker sooner and deer activity increases,” said NCDOT Director of Mobility and Safety Kevin Lacy.
The majority of deer-vehicle collisions occur between October and December, when deer activity increases due to the mating and hunting seasons. Crashes are most common during the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m..
Between 2006 and 2008, there were 56,732 animal-related collisions reported throughout North Carolina. The top five counties were Wake County (1,029 incidents), Guilford County (606), Duplin County (598), Rockingham County (533) and Pitt County (521). Wake County has had the most animal-related crashes for the past eight years.
NCDOT offers the following suggestions to avoid being in a deer-vehicle collision:
– Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
– Drive with high beams on, when possible, and watch out for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
– Remember that deer often travel in groups, so do not assume that the road is clear if one deer has already passed.
– Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash.
Animal-related crash data from 2006ń2008 and county rankings can be found at http://www.ncdot.org/ under the “Quick Links” section.

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