Deer-Vehicle Collision on the Rise This Autumn

First Posted: Sep 30, 2015 08:19 AM EDT

It's that time of year again: autumn. And this means that there are a lot more deer near the roads, which may lead to higher collision rates if drivers aren't careful. Scientists have found that fall is when drivers are more likely to hit deer that run on the road.

Deer-vehicle collisions increase during the "rutting season" because white-tailed deer move around a lot more looking for mates. Until now, though, researchers weren't sure exactly how serious these seasonal collisions were. That's why they took a closer look.

The scientists completed a county-by-county analysis of when motorists should be more aware of possibly hitting a deer. They looked at breeding data, and then compared it to deer-vehicle collision statistics across Georgia. In the end, they created a map that more accurately reflected when motorists are in greater danger of hitting a deer. The new map actually lists specific peak dates for each of Georgia's 159 counties.

"Now we can warn drivers in a more relevant timeframe than in the past," said James Stickles, one of the researchers, in a news release. "Depending on your location in Georgia, peak rut may occur anywhere from October to December. By knowing deer movement dates in specific areas, email blasts and other warnings to be more vigilant of deer can be distributed before, and during, times when deer-vehicle collisions are most likely to occur."

The findings are important for motorists on the roads, especially when considering the dangers of crashing into deer. In addition, the researchers warn that drivers should be extra cautious at night, because deer are more active during nighttime periods.

The findings are published in the Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

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