New York Drivers Now Have Much Greater Risk Of Hitting Deer, Moose
Warning: Your chances of crashing into a deer or moose while driving in New York have dramatically increased.
On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded Empire State drivers that deer and moose become more active and are more likely to enter public roadways in the fall.
DMV and DEC Warn Motorists to Watch for Deer and Moose on or Near Roadways In New York
October, November, and December is breeding season for deer causing the animals to become more visible, officials say. Drivers are also warned to be alert for moose on roads this time of year, especially in the Adirondacks and surrounding areas.
"The fall season is a peak time for wildlife activity across New York, especially for deer and moose who can cross roadways and create the potential for an accident," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Regardless of where you live, all motorists should keep an eye out and be aware that wildlife can cross their paths."
Deer and moose are more active at dawn and dusk when commuter traffic is heavy and visibility may be reduced, officials say.
Deer and Moose are Most Active During Fall Months In New York, Posing an Increased Risk of Crashes
New research from the University at Albany's Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research found that nearly half of all accidents between deer and vehicles and 2021 occurred during the months of October, November, and December.
"New York's roadways are as beautiful as ever during the fall months, but it's also when deer and moose are more active so motorists must drive with extra caution to help avoid a collision," DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said. "Watch for deer-crossing signs along roadways, as they indicate deer have been seen at that location and have collided with cars there. Those signs are meant to warn you to be extra cautious when driving through such locations."
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Moose Sightings In Putnam County, Dutchess County
Hudson Valley Post has reported on a few recent moose sightings in Dutchess and Putnam counties.
In late September, a moose was spotted traveling across Dutchess County. A day or two later, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, a large moose was seen navigating through Pawling, New York.
The next day, a moose was spotted in the East Fishkill/Hopewell Junction area of Dutchess County. That morning a moose was caught in East Fishkill on a security camera. You can see a photo of that sighting below:
Around the same time, a Wappingers Central School District bus driver told us she saw moose while driving her school bus.
"I called it into the bus garage on the radio and they thought I was crazy," Victoria Anderson LaPerchea said.
Moose accidents typically cause more damage than an accident with a deer because of its larger body.
"Moose are much larger and taller than deer. Their large body causes greater damage, and, when struck, their height often causes them to impact the windshield of a car or pickup truck, not just the front of the vehicle. Moose are especially difficult to see at night because of their dark brown to black coloring and their height - which puts their head and much of their body above vehicle headlights," the DEC states.
Tips To Avoid Accidents With Deer, Moose in New York State
The DEC recommends motorists take these precautions to reduce the chance of hitting a deer or moose:
- Decrease speed when you approach deer near roadsides. Deer can "bolt" or change direction at the last minute;
- If you see a deer go across the road, decrease speed and be careful. Deer often travel in groups, so expect other deer to follow;
- Use emergency lights or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when deer are seen on or near the road;
- Use caution on roadways marked with deer crossing signs; and
- Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk, when animal movement is at its highest and visibility is reduced.
- If encountering an animal on the roadway, brake firmly but do not swerve.
- Swerving can cause a collision with another vehicle, a tree, a pole, or other objects.
- If an animal is hit, DEC advises motorists to stay away from the animal. A frightened, wounded deer or moose could use its powerful legs and sharp hooves to cause harm.