The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are urging motorists to be alert for moose, deer, and other wildlife on the roads.
Fall is the peak time for wildlife activity in northern New York. Additionally, two-thirds of all deer and vehicle collisions occur during October, November, and December, when deer breed and travel the most.
Moose and deer are most active at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility and usually when there are more motorists on the roads. Moose are much larger and taller than deer, so their bodies cause greater damage to vehicles, increasing the likelihood of injuries or even deaths. They are especially difficult to see at night because of their dark coloring.
Motorists should take the following precautions to prevent deer and moose vehicle collisions:
- Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk.
- Reduce your speed, stay alert, and watch the road sides.
- Slow down when approaching moose and deer standing near the roadside, as they may bolt at the last minute when a car comes closer, often running into the road.
- Be aware that more than one animal may be nearby. Moose and deer sometimes travel in pairs or small groups.
- Make sure all vehicle occupants wear seatbelts and children are properly restrained in child safety seats.
- Use flashers or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when moose or deer are spotted near the road.
Brake firmly but do not swerve if encountering moose or deer. Swerving can cause a collision with another vehicle, a tree, a pole, or other objects. If a deer or bear is hit and killed by a motor vehicle, the owner or consignee can request a possession tag from the investigative police officer to legally possess the carcass.