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Motorists reminded of deer season dangers

The New York State Thruway Authority and New York State Troop T reminded motorists of the dangers of deer season, with their annual “Antler Alert.”

Most deer and vehicle collisions occur between October and December, according to those organizations.

“Fall is here and deer are on the move, so wear your seatbelts, slow down and drive cautiously,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison. “Scan the roadway, keep an eye on the shoulders and remain attentive for deer on or approaching the highway. Deer are unpredictable and, by obeying the speed limit and avoiding distractions, motorists can greatly reduce the chances of a vehicle-deer accident,” he added.

“The safety of every motorist is our top priority,” said State Police Troop Seargant Thomas Ferritto. “Be aware of your surroundings on the highway. Take the extra step by keeping free of distractions. Vehicle-deer accidents can cause serious injury, so it is essential that drivers be on the lookout for deer.”

Although the Thruway Authority uses deer crossing signs at locations with a higher than average history of vehicle and deer collisions, more than 2,200 of these incidents occurred along the thruway, in 2011.

The authority offered these tips for motorists:

– Deer are more active during evening, dusk and dawn.

– Scan the shoulders of the roadside for deer eyes, which reflect light.

– Using high beams and sounding the vehicle’s horn may help to repel deer, but it will not necessarily prevent a collision.

– Slow down when approaching deer that are standing at the roadside, since they may run into oncoming traffic.

– Always wear a seatbelt.

– Deer often move in groups. Where there is one animal, there may be more.

– If you see a deer, brake firmly. The most serious vehicle and deer accidents occur when drivers veer at high speeds, strike another vehicle or go off the road. Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer. This can confuse the animal and may cause it to run into the roadway.

– If you are involved in a collision with a deer, do not attempt to approach or touch the animal.

If a vehicle-deer accident occurs, a motorist should attempt to drive his or her vehicle as far off the highway as possible, park on the right shoulder, activate the four-way hazard lights, stay in the vehicle and wait until help arrives. Motorists traveling on the thruway can report an accident by calling 911 or the Thruway Authority’s emergency number, at 1-800-842-2233.

Additional traveler safety tips are available on the Thruway Authority website at www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/safety/drivingsafety.html.

To receive TRANSalerts, emails that provide real-time information on thruway traffic conditions, visit www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml.
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