Drivers warned: Beware of deer during fall

Yates County Sheriff's Office
October through December are the times of the year when crashes involving deer tend to increase.

YATES COUNTY -- Nearly two thirds of the annual car vs. deer crashes in New York State occur in the months of October through December, says Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike.

“Drivers must be especially aware during fall months,” said Spike, “as in 2020, Yates County Deputy Sheriffs investigated 140 car-deer crashes September through November, with the latter month having the most at 68.”

For all last year, Yates County 911 received nearly 400 calls for car-deer crashes in the county. While no one highway has a monopoly on crashes, State Route 14 leads the numbers in 2020 for state highways with 46 crashes, with State Route 14A having had 42.

The towns of Jerusalem and Barrington tied with 52 car-deer crashes in each township in 2020. The Bath Road and the Guyanoga Valley Road led in 2020 for county highways.

Already in 2021, there have been 244 car-deer collisions investigated by deputies and troopers these past nine months. Just this past month of September there were 35 car-deer crashes in the county.

Deer naturally feed and move in the dawn and dusk times, so drivers need to be especially aware during these times of day. Deer are also natural herd animals;  if you see one go by or in the roadway, slow down and be prepared to stop as the likelihood of others about to cross is very probable.

No matter the season or time of day, always use caution when in areas marked with deer crossing warning signs as those spots are frequent crossings. Always wear your seatbelt and drive at a safe and prudent speed for the conditions.

Drivers should be especially wary in areas with deer crossing signs.

If you are surprised by a deer, traffic safety experts say reactive swerving and evasive moves may result in loss of vehicle control and generally, it may be better to hit the deer than to run into an oncoming car or hit a fixed object like a tree. A struck-dead deer can be first-claimed by the vehicle's operator or owner.

“AAA estimates that the average claim for repair of a car that has struck a deer head-on is $3.500, but can go much higher in cost,” Sheriff Spike said. “Please drive staying alert for deer, especially this fall, and buckle up for safety.”