“It’s important to remember that these are herd animals,” he said. “If you see one by or in the roadway, slow down and look because there’s probably more.”
Through grants from the New York State Sheriff’s Association, Mercier has worked since 2008 to share safety tips with the public to help them possibly avoid an accident with a deer.
“It was an issue then, and it still is,” he added.
LOCAL CRASH NUMBERS
State DMV’s most recent reports, from 2006, show accident numbers for Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.
In Clinton County, 183 accidents involved animals out of a total of 1,081 reported, making up 16.9 percent of the total. Of the 183 collisions with animals, 28 resulted in personal injury and 155 in property damage.
Accidents involving animals were higher in Essex County, with 153 cases out of 629 total accidents, comprising 24.3 percent of the total collisions in 2006, with 16 personal-injury and 137 property-damage accidents.
Out of 798 reported accidents in Franklin County, 205 involved car-animal collisions for a total of 25.7 percent of accidents, with 25 resulting in personal injury and 180 reported as property damage only.
As a professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell, Lynne Irwin knows roads and how dangerous a deer-car collision can be.
Drivers should practice vigilance and slow their speed, he said, but there is little else that can be done to avoid an accident.
“By slowing down they reduce the chances that a vehicle occupant will be seriously injured in the event of a deer-vehicle collision,” Irwin said.
Everyone agrees that the two hours before sunrise and after sunset are the most dangerous hours for drivers and deer in the roadways.
WEATHER A FACTOR
Irwin said drivers should pay extra attention when weather becomes a factor.
“Rainy days are a problem due to the reduced visibility, poor lighting and lower pavement skid resistance. It is especially important to slow down and be alert in such conditions,” he said.