When daylight fades and darkness looms, strange things happen in the Nutmeg State: deer collisions increase with wild abandon on Connecticut roadways, says AAA Northeast.
A AAA Northeast analysis of crashes from the UConn Crash Data repository found October, November, and December were the months with the most deer-related crashes in 2019. A total of 423 deer crashes occurred in those three months, which is equivalent to one crash every 6 hours. During that time, 75% of deer-related crashes occurred outside daylight hours, with 6 pm – 8 pm as the most common time (or 5 pm – 7 pm after clocks change).
According to the Crash Data Repository, these 10 municipalities reported the most deer/vehicle crashes last year.
- Coventry with 24 crashes
- Orange and Norwich, 17 crashes each
- Wallingford, 16 crashes
- Bethel and Groton, 12 crashes each
- Trumbull, North Branford, and Windsor, 11 crashes each; and
- Simsbury with 10 crashes
“Drivers be forewarned: steer clear of deer since we’re now in the peak time when such crashes occur in our state,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “So, it behooves drivers to be prepared since such crashes can be costly, even deadly.”
Because Eastern Standard Time begins Sunday, November 1 and gives drivers less daylight driving time, drivers need to be especially vigilant, says Mayko.
Most deer-related crashes occur because drivers simply don’t see deer crossing roadways in low-light conditions; sometimes, however, drivers are inattentive or speeding.
Avoiding a deer crash may be very difficult; however, to minimize your risk on the road, AAA Northeast offers these suggestions:
- While driving, scan the road ahead of you, including the road shoulder. Deer tend to dash from wooded areas into roads.
- Maintain proper road speed so you have more time to respond to unexpected wildlife movements.
- Swerving to avoid an animal may cause you to lose control of your vehicle or create a more serious crash with vehicles in adjacent lanes. If a crash is inevitable, grip your steering wheel, apply your brakes firmly and try to remain in your lane.
- Be especially attentive in the early morning and evening hours when many animals are most active.
- Take care rounding curves and climbing hills where visibility is limited.
- Take Deer Crossing and other wildlife signs seriously. One long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your car if you spy them early enough.
- Most important, buckle up and expect the unexpected.