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Oh dear, it's lovey-dovey time for deer

Wednesday - 10/3/2012, 9:00am  ET

deer
Love is in the air. (AP)

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

FAIRFAX, Va. - Deer in the mood for love are greatly increasing the danger for drivers.

October and November are "rutting season." That yearly mating period inevitably brings an increase in vehicle-deer encounters.

Hitting a deer can be dangerous, costly, and inconvenient.

Two years ago I struck and killed a deer on the way to work.

Fairfax County Police offer these tips to steer clear of deer:

  • Deer are especially active pre-dawn to mid-morning and dusk to early evening.

  • Deer travel in herds. If you see one deer, others are likely nearby.

  • Slow down. The slower you're driving, the more time you have to avoid the deer if you see it.

  • Use high beams when there's no oncoming traffic, to widen your area of visibility.

  • Notice Deer Crossing signs.

  • Watch for "eye shine" or light reflecting off a deer's eyes. When you see it, slow down.

  • If a deer is "frozen in the headlights," flash them, since steady lights can mesmerize deer.

  • Don't swerve to avoid a deer, because it can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

  • If a crash is going to happen, take your foot off the brake at the time of impact, to lower the chance of the deer crashing through your windshield.

  • Don't rely on hood whistles, car horns, or other devices to scare deer. They don't work.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)