[From the YWN Catskill News Section] The New York State Thruway Authority and State Police Troop T encourage motorists to be careful and be aware of the increased presence of deer along the highway system, especially during this time of year. The Thruway Authority believes that the key to safety is awareness.
“Vehicle-deer accidents can cause serious injury, and drivers are encouraged to be alert for deer,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Michael R. Fleischer. “Motorists are reminded to be watchful for deer as they travel along the Thruway, especially during this time of year. The safety of motorists is the Authority’s top priority.”
Motorists should be attentive wherever there are deer crossing signs posted along the Thruway. These signs indicate that, in the past, there have been frequent deer crossings in that immediate area.
“It is extremely important that motorists remain aware of their surroundings and be on the look-out for deer along the highways,” said State Police Troop T Major Robert C. Meyers.
“Our state has a very healthy deer population that can be found both in rural and urban regions, and at this time of year these animals are on the move,” said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “We encourage all New Yorkers to stay alert and follow the proven precautions that will help protect their safety.”
The Thruway Authority offers these tips for motorists:
• Be more aware of deer during May/June and October/November.
• Use extreme caution at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active.
• Scan the shoulders of the roadside for deer eyes reflecting light.
• Do not rely on high beams or honking your horn to warn deer.
• Slow down when approaching deer standing at the roadside; they may run into oncoming traffic.
• Deer often travel in groups. Where there’s one, there may be more.
• Always buckle your seat belts. Ejection from a vehicle is the main reason that fatalities occur in a collision.
• If a collision is unavoidable, hold onto the steering wheel; do not swerve to avoid hitting the deer. Bring vehicle to a complete stop. The most serious vehicle-deer accidents occur when drivers swerve at high speeds to elude a deer and then hit another vehicle, a tree, or rolls over.
• Do not attempt to approach or touch the deer.
In the event of a vehicle-deer accident, motorists should make every attempt to drive their vehicle as far off the highway as possible and park on the right shoulder, activate the four-way hazard flashers, and stay with the vehicle and wait until help arrives. Motorists traveling on the Thruway can report an accident by calling the Authority’s emergency number at 1-800-842-2233, or 911.
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(YWN Sullivan County News Team – 2010)