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November 2, 2015
Most Deer-Related Crashes in Virginia Occur in November
Motorists Reminded to Use Caution, Stay Alert

RICHMOND – November is the most dangerous month for deer-related crashes in Virginia and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and AAA Mid-Atlantic urge motorists to buckle up, slow down and be observant.

Last year, 1,279 Virginia crashes involving a deer – about one quarter of the deer-related crashes reported for the entire year – occurred during the month of November, according to DMV statistics. One person was killed and another 103 people were injured.

More deer-related crashes typically occur in fall than any other season. Nearly 54 percent of deer vs. vehicle crashes reported across the commonwealth last year occurred in the months of October, November and December – making up 2,873 of the 5,367 crashes.

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, deer are most active this time of year because fall is their mating season.

“Anyone who has ever been in a crash involving a deer – myself included – knows just how dangerous these crashes can be,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Aside from damaging your vehicle, you could be injured or even killed. In fact, last year, deer-related crashes claimed two lives and injured 434 people right here in Virginia.”

“During this time of year, the height of the deer rutting season, motorists should be especially vigilant and watchful for deer on area roads, as well as in rural areas,” said Tammy Arnette, Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Deer can suddenly bolt onto the road catching motorists and motorcyclists off guard. AAA is urging drivers to remain alert, distraction free and to use extreme caution in an effort to allow enough time to react for the unexpected.”

In 2014, the most Virginia deer-vehicle crashes occurred in Loudoun and Fauquier counties, which reported 314 and 226 crashes respectively. One person died in a deer-related crash in Fauquier County. The year’s second deer- related crash fatality occurred in Pittsylvania County. (Below are 2014 deer-related crash statistics by jurisdiction.)

The following are some tips to help drivers avoid deer-related crashes:

  • Be alert at dusk and dawn, especially in the fall.

  • Slow down if you see a deer near or crossing the road.

  • Deer frequently travel in groups so always expect more to cross.

  • Use the horn to scare deer away.

  • If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, do not swerve. Brake firmly, stay in your lane and come to a controlled stop.

  • Always buckle up. Seat belt users are 45 percent less likely to be fatally injured in any type of crash.

If you are involved in a deer-related crash, you are required by law to report the incident to your local Conservation Police Officer (Game Warden) or local law enforcement where the incident occurred. Do not try to move a deer as an injured deer might panic and seriously injure a Good Samaritan.