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Tips for Driving Safely During the Rut


Did you know that vehicles kill hundreds of deer every year? This could be attributed to the number of deer that cross the road at all times of the day, sometimes without any warning.  According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, more than half of all collisions involving deer occur in October and November or the rut (mating season). 

Here are some driving tips to help prevent collisions:

  • Be especially watchful around dawn and dusk because deer are most active at those times. 


  • If you see one, there are probably more to follow. Watch for other deer - they will move quickly to catch up with leaders, mothers or mates and most likely will not pay attention to motor vehicle traffic. 


  • If you see brake lights ahead of you, it could be another driver has spotted a deer. Stay alert as you drive by the spot, more deer could try to cross. 


  • Drive slowly and look along the shoulder of the road for eager deer looking to cross the road. 


  • Take note of deer-crossing signs and drive accordingly.


  • Drive more slowly at night, give yourself time to see a deer with your headlights. Also, lowering the brightness of your dashboard lights slightly will make it easier to see deer. 


  • Be cautious when traveling near steep roadside banks. Deer will pop onto the roadway with little to no warning. 


  • Be aware that headlights confuse deer and may cause them to stop or move erratically. Young deer also do not recognize vehicles as a threat. 


  • Deer hooves slip on pavement and a deer may fall in front of your vehicle just when you think it is jumping away. 

If a collision with a deer is imminent, carefully take your foot off the accelerator and brake lightly.  Meanwhile, keep a firm hold of the steering wheel and keep the vehicle straight. Try not to swerve to miss the deer, doing so may cause more damage to your car and or possible personal injury. If you’ve hit a deer you can start your claims process here.