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Deer, Moose On, Near Roadways Pose Increased Crash Risk Months During Fall, NY DEC Says

New York officials are warning motorists to watch out for moose and deer in roadways in the fall months, as the animals are most active during this time.
New York officials are warning motorists to watch out for moose and deer in roadways in the fall months, as the animals are most active during this time. Photo Credit: Pixabay/David Mark

Although it may be easy to get distracted by beautiful foliage while driving in the fall, New York officials are warning motorists to keep an eye on the road for deer -- and even moose -- as the weather gets colder. 

Deer and moose are more likely to enter roadways in the months of October, November, and December, as it is breeding season for the animals which can cause them to be more active and visible, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. 

According to the University at Albany's Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, 41 percent of crashes with the animals in 2021 happened during these three months. 

"New York's roadways are as beautiful as ever during the fall months, but it's also when deer and moose are more active so motorists must drive with extra caution to help avoid a collision," said Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. 

Both moose and deer are most active at dawn and dusk when visibility is lower and there may be heavy traffic, so officials recommend extra caution during these times. 

A collision with a moose can especially harm a vehicle, officials said. 

"Their large body causes greater damage, and, when struck, their height often causes them to impact the windshield of a car or pickup truck, not just the front of the vehicle," officials said, also adding that moose can be harder to see at night because of their dark brown coloring and their height, as their body is often above headlights. 

Officials recommend the following tips to avoid collisions: 

  • Decrease speed when seeing deer on the side of the road, as they can suddenly change directions;
  • Use emergency lights or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when deer are nearby;
  • Be extra cautious when traveling on roads with deer crossing signs. 

Those who collide with the animals are advised to pull over to a safe place, call the police to report the accident, and not assume that their vehicle is safe to drive afterward, officials said. 

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