Dangerous combination of deer, dark prompts crash warning for New Jersey motorists

TRENTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey motorists should take extra caution this time of year as dark roads and increased deer activity make evening travel a little more hazardous.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife want all drivers to be hypervigilant as deer begin to enter the fall rut.

Deer are known to be more active during this time of year and more likely to run onto the road.

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Peak season for deer mating runs from late October to early December when there's less light for drivers to see.

"Deer are involved in thousands of collisions with motor vehicles in New Jersey each year, with the highest number occurring during the fall mating season," Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Golden said. "We urge all drivers to be especially alert to the possibility of deer suddenly darting onto roadways and to be aware of things they can do to reduce the risk of a collision and possible serious injury to themselves or their passengers."

The wildlife department advises drivers to take their time especially early in the morning and around sunset as deer are most active at these times.

The low visibility from daylight saving time also increases the danger of crashing.

The DOT advices drivers to slow down if the see a deer in the road and not attempt to drive around the animal.

When driving through marked deer crossing areas, be hypervigilant and prepared to stop suddenly should a deer jump out.

The department also warns drivers of tailgating in case the driver in front has to stop short for a deer.

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If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, the department's advises braking and staying in your lane instead of swerving to avoid the collision.

More fatal crashes happen when drivers swerve into oncoming traffic or fixed objects on the side of the road when trying to avoid hitting a deer.

The DOT and department of wildlife also ask drivers to report any deer related collisions to local law enforcement immediately.

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