Is it true that deer are more active in the fall?

As a motorist, you are always on the lookout for dangers and obstacles that could lead to a car accident. From pedestrians to other motorists, there are plenty of reasons to stay alert behind the wheel. But another danger concerns wildlife, especially deer.

No matter where you drive, deer can appear in the middle of the road without warning. And there really are certain times of the year when the deer are more active. As fall approaches, you may be wondering if there is any truth to the idea that deer are more active in certain seasons.

Deer can be extremely dangerous to motorists

Deer in the fall | Robert Alexander/File Photos/Getty Images

You don’t have to drive to a remote area to spot deer on the road. In fact, there are countless reports of deer making their way through populated neighborhoods and down busy thoroughfares. This means that there is always a risk of running into a scared doe or buck crossing the road without warning.

Deer are herd animals, which means they often travel in small groups. And as a flight animal, sudden noises, lights, or disturbances will cause them to run. This behavior presents more dangerous driving conditions for motorists because these animals do not know how to look for cars before setting off on the road. According to Erie Insurance, more than 1.5 million people are involved in deer-related collisions each year.

Deer are most active during the fall months

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Scientific and wildlife habit evidence supports the idea that deer are most active in the fall. The News & Observer reports that when deer hunting season and mating season overlap, it can be more dangerous for drivers.

These conditions push deer to explore beyond their usual territories. According to some data, nearly half of all deer-related collisions occur between October and December for these reasons.

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In addition to these peak deer seasons, there are certain times of day when deer are also more prevalent. Animals are most active at dusk and dawn, when they tend to search for food.

So if you’re driving in the fall at these times of day, be extra careful behind the wheel. Also, wherever you see a deer crossing sign, authorities have designated those areas for a reason. Areas with higher deer populations will have these signs visible to motorists as an indication that the creatures are crossing those sections of the road more frequently.

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As the busy deer racing season approaches, it may be a good idea to call your car insurance provider to verify your coverage. State Farm reminds its policyholders that only comprehensive coverage can pay for damage to your vehicle if a deer hits it. Collision insurance or liability-only coverage will not cover accidents involving animals. Most insurers will maintain the same coverage requirements.

If your car collides with a deer, follow these steps:

  • Stop, preferably in a safe place, and activate your car’s hazard warning lights.
  • Call 911 to report the incident and file an official report, which will come in handy if you file an insurance claim.
  • Document the accident by taking photos of the injuries or damage to the vehicle.
  • Stay away from deer and vehicle traffic until help or authorities arrive.

This fall, watch out for deer on the road. They are most active in the fall, so be prepared for last minute crossing attempts.

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