Fall Driving: Be Alert for Deer

Fall is here and white-tailed deer are on the move. Fall is the breeding season for deer and you can expect to see more of them on the roads as they search for mates. Deer are unpredictable and crashes with them are a safety concern.

About half of all crashes with deer occur during the months of October, November and December. Deer are most active before sunrise to mid-morning, and dusk to early evening, which is also when many Fairfax County residents are heading to and from work or school.

We urge motorists to pay attention, drive carefully, and remember these safety tips:

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Do not text and drive. Avoid distractions that might cause you to miss an animal.
  • Slow down and pay attention. Watch for eye shine along roadsides. If you see one deer, it is likely there will be others.
  • Use high beams as traffic allows to spot deer further away.
  • If a deer is stopped in the roadway, slow down and flash your headlights. Deer can become mesmerized or blinded by bright steady lights.
  • Slow down or stop if necessary to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss one. A crash with another car or anything along the roadside is likely to be more serious.
  • Take your foot off the brake at time of the crash. This reduces the chance of a deer crashing through a windshield or windows when hit.
  • Rely on your own senses. Never depend on hood whistles, car horns, or other devices to scare deer out of your path.
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs and be careful in areas where deer are known to travel.
  • If you hit and kill a deer and you want to keep it, you must report the accident to a law enforcement officer where the crash occurred. The officer needs to see the animal before giving you a possession certificate. 

If a deer is injured or killed, immediately report the crash to us on our non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.

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