RHODE ISLAND – “Dark 30” is approaching with the end of daylight saving time. Sunset for most of Rhode Island is 4:34 p.m. Sunday.
Sunrise Monday is at 6:25 a.m.
Sunrise and sunset are peak times for deer. It’s when they travel to their favorite watering holes, creating hazards on the roads they share with people traveling to and from work.
November is even more precarious. It’s rut season for deer. In other words, it’s mating season and a pretty frenetic time for deer, who are so determined to continue their species that they can run into your car, SUV, or truck. The season is called “the rut” because it’s the time of year when the male deer push their antlers together until one of them gives up and dies.
Tom Langen, professor of biology at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, wrote for The Conversation that collisions with deer are about eight times more common at dusk or dawn – when deer are most active and motorists’ ability to spot them is weakest. — only during daylight hours. In fact, only about one-fifth of deer-vehicle collisions occur during daylight hours.
Motorists should also be aware during full moons – the next is the full beaver moon on November 19 – the time of night when the moon is brightest. During these hours, deer move away from their nesting grounds and are more likely to rush through highway traffic.
It’s not just male deer that make highways dangerous in the fall. Elk and moose also mate.
Rhode Island ranks 31st in auto-pet collisions, according to a State Farm Insurance survey released earlier this fall.
Here are some tips to avoid hitting a deer:
- Slow down, especially at dusk and dawn.
- If you see a deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road.
- Watch out for deer signs.
- Always buckle up — every trip, every time.
- Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic.
- Do not turn to deer. Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which can lead to a more serious accident.
- Stay focused on the road. Look for potential hazards, including animals.
- Avoid distractions. Appliances or eating can cause you to miss seeing an animal.
- Don’t rely on products like deer whistles. Their effectiveness is not proven.
- If you ride a motorcycle, always wear protective gear. Stay focused on the road ahead.
About 200 people die and another 29,000 are seriously injured each year in collisions between deer and automobiles, according to published research. Property damage exceeds $1 billion per year, with claims averaging about $2,600 per accident.