SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Police and a state official are reminding drivers to be extra cautious when traveling during early morning hours and at night.
The announcement comes as township police reported 42 vehicle crashes involving deer since Sept. 15 — and anticipate those numbers to climb.
“Drivers need to use extra caution especially at dusk and dawn for deer activity,” South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said.
According to the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, this time of year is known as the fall rut, when white-tailed deer are more active during mating season.
“Deer are involved in thousands of collisions with motor vehicles in New Jersey each year, with the highest number occurring during the fall mating season,” Dave Golden, Division of Fish and Wildlife director, said.
During this season, deer are more likely to run onto roadways, with greater frolicking during early morning hours and sunset.
“We urge all motorists to be especially alert to the possibility of deer suddenly darting onto roadways,” said Golden, adding, “and to be aware of things they can do to reduce the risk of a collision and possible serious injury to themselves or their passengers.”
This season, most of the deer-involved crashes in South Brunswick, according to township police, happened on Route 1 between Beekman Road and Promenade Boulevard, Beekman between Route 1 and Route 27, and Route 522 between Ridge Road and Stouts Lane.
- If you see a deer, slow down and watch for possible sudden movement. If the deer is in the road and doesn’t move, wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear. Do not try to maneuver around the deer.
- Pay attention to “Deer Crossing” signs. Travel slowly in areas known to have a lot of deer.
- When traveling after dark, use high beams if there is no oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead.
- If you see one deer, assume there are others in the area.
- Don’t tailgate. The driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
- If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact. The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake appropriately and stay in your lane.
- Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.
The high-time for deer-involved crashes occurs from late October into mid-December in New Jersey. Daylight saving time also adds to a greater chance for accidents.