Caltrans is issuing a warning about an increase in vehicle versus deer collisions in Northern California.
Officials want to emphasize this is deer and elk mating season and the animals are more active and less cautious about darting into the road. Crews in Ukiah say they have never seen the increase of accidents like they’ve seen during the past two weeks. Officials want all drivers in Northern California to be extra aware this year and to remember that if you see a deer in your lane, break firmly but stay in your lane. They say most serious accidents occur when people swerve. Caltrans offers the following advice:
1. Be particularly attentive between sunset and midnight, the hours shortly before and after sunrise, and in foggy conditions. Most deer-vehicle collisions occur during these times.
2. Drive carefully in areas known to have high deer populations: places where roads divide agricultural fields or streams from forest land are particularly dangerous.
3. If you see a deer, slow down. Others are probably nearby.
4. Use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams can reflect off animal eyes and warn you of their presence.
5. If a deer is in your lane, brake firmly but stay in the lane. Most serious crashes occur when drivers swerve.
6. Don’t rely on deer whistles, deer fences or reflectors to deter deer. Always wear a seat belt when driving.
7. If your car strikes a deer, don’t touch the animal. If the deer is blocking the highway, call 911.