Provincetown Police Chief issues caution about roadway deer strikes

PHOTO COURTESY: Provincetown Police

PHOTO COURTESY: Provincetown Police

A message from Provincetown Police Chief Jim Golden

Chief’s Corner

On Saturday night I was present when a motorist called to report a past collision with a deer while travelling on Route #6. The deer ran off into the woods but the callers car was very badly damaged.

This made me wonder about some suggestions or tips for avoiding a collision with a deer in the roadway?

This time of year is “rutting” or mating season for deer and for that reason, deer seem to pop out in front of motorists when they least expect it.

If during your regular travel route you take you see a deer, the next two months you are at a higher risk of being involved in a car/deer accident. This is because deer have a pattern of behavior, and once they settle into a location, they are likely to come back many times over again. There are however, many ways you can protect yourself and your family from a car/deer accident.

Motorists should be more cautious when driving in wooded areas, especially in agricultural areas.

Highest-risk periods are from sunset to midnight and the hours shortly before and after sunrise. Be more careful during these times.

When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no opposing traffic. The high beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway. Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. High-beam headlights will not necessarily frighten a deer, so do not rely on the high beams to deter deer, but rather rely on the lights to better illuminate the animal.

Deer are often unpredictable, especially when faced with glaring headlights, blowing horns and fast-moving vehicles. Sometimes they stop in the middle of the road when crossing or cross quickly and come back. Sometimes they move toward an approaching vehicle. Assume nothing, check your rear-view mirror for traffic, slow down and blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road.

Deer frequently travel in groups and in single file. If you see one deer on or near the road, expect that others may follow.

Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars, driving off the road and hitting a fixed object such as a utility pole or tree.

WATCH FOR and PAY ATTENTION to roadside signs warning of deer crossings!

Remember when driving you should have your safety belt on at all times, follow the posted speed limits, always drive defensively and try to remain calm in all circumstances. If you are involved in a collision with a deer or other large animal, call the Provincetown Police Department at 508-487-1212 and we will respond.

Naturally, if anyone is injured during the collision, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.

As always, thank you for your support!

Jim Golden
Chief of Police

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