The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recently issued an alert that deer on on the move! Here's what you can do to protect yourself and your car!

10% of all vehicle crashes here in Maine, 32,922 of them, between the years 2006 and 2015, involved deer.  66% of those crashes happened when it was dark. So, study up!

  • Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you.  Looking ahead helps provide enough reaction time if an animal is spotted. Also, remember some animals move in groups, so when there is one, there are usually more in the area.
  • Good Visibility is a Must: Use high-beam headlights if there’s no oncoming traffic.  Wildlife may be spotted sooner when using high beams. This will give the driver time to slow down, move over or honk the horn to scare the animal away. High beams also help in spotting some animals’ reflective eyes.
  • What if a Crash is Unavoidable? If a collision is unavoidable, remain in your lane- swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or result in drivers losing control of vehicles.  Apply the brakes firmly, and release them just before impact- this will help prevent the vehicle’s nose from “scooping” the animal up and over the hood.
  • From Dusk to Dawn: Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk. Most animals, especially deer, tend to be more active early in the morning and at dusk.
  • Pay Attention and Keep to the Speed Limit: Drivers should always wear a seat belt and remain awake, alert and sober. Driver distraction and inattention, combined with excess speed, often result in vehicle-wildlife collisions

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife also have some interesting stuff on their website.

  • Deer hooves slip on pavement and a deer may fall in front of your vehicle just when you think it is jumping away.
  • Although deer can hear sounds that human cannot, the usefulness of special whistles – small devices mounted on your vehicle that emit a shrill sound to scar away deer – has not been scientifically proven.