ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Environmental Conservation issued an alert warning New York drivers of an increased risk of crashes involving deer and moose during the fall. According to the DEC, these animals are most active during October, November and December due to their natural breeding seasons.

In 2022, 41.5% of crashes between deer and vehicles occurred between October and December, according to a study conducted by the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research. The DEC also stated that moose are more likely to enter public roadways in the Adirondacks and surrounding areas during this time of year.

“Fall is a wonderful time to drive around New York State to enjoy the beautiful colors as the leaves change, but it is also a time to keep a careful watch for animals in the roadway,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “You should watch for deer-crossing signs and for animals at the side of the road that may suddenly dart into traffic.”

The DEC recommends drivers take the following precautions to reduce their chance of a wildlife crash:

  • Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk, when animal movement is at its highest and visibility is reduced
  • Decrease speed when you approach deer near roadsides or crossing roads, as deer often travel in groups, so other deer may follow
  • Use emergency lights or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when deer are spotted near the road
  • When a deer or moose is seen approaching the roadway, honk your car horn to help them avoid entering the road
  • If you encounter an animal on the road, brake firmly but don’t swerve, as swerving can cause a collision with another vehicle or object
  • Exercise caution on roads marked with deer crossing signs

Anyone who does strike an animal is urged to pull over to the side of the road, turn on hazard lights, and call the police. If the collision results in injury, death or over $1,000 in property damage, motorists must fill out a crash report and send it to DMV.

“Fall is the time of year wildlife activity across New York State is most prevalent, especially for deer or moose crossing roadways and creating the potential for an accident,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Regardless of where you live in New York State, motorists should be on the lookout for wildlife that may cross their paths and follow key safety tips to avoid animal encounters while on the road.”