Many New Jersey homeowners know that October is the start of deer-mating season, since they just have to look out their windows to see bucks with full-grown antlers and herds of deer crossing local yards. The state Department of Environmental Protection, however, warns that this time of year is often when deer are most unpredictable, darting into traffic as they search for mates. There were at least 30,866 deer struck by vehicles in 2010, according to the insurance industry, and the state believes that might be a conservative estimate.
The state advises motorists to ease off the gas and be especially watchful at dawn and dusk, slowing down if they see deer — which typically move in groups and often cross roads single file. If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact, advises the DEP; deer may counter-maneuver and the accident is much more likely to be fatal if drivers swerve into oncoming traffic or hit some type of structure.