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Fall is deer season on the road, too

The surrounding countryside near Newton provides a great environment for deer. From the Delaware Water Gap recreation area to the numerous lakes and waterways and their accompanying woods, the region provides an ideal environment for deer. However, the presence of large numbers of humans and their vehicles means some things are less than ideal for those deer.

Here's a sobering statistic: in New Jersey, motor vehicle accidents kill as many deer as hunters with bows and guns. While New Jersey has some type of deer season open for almost six months of the year, it is always deer hunting season with a car.

There were about 26,000 deer-car accidents in 2013, according to one insurance company, in New Jersey, and with more than 100,000 deer in the state, the number of reported accidents is presumed to be about half of the actual total.

Fall is an especially active time for deer, with rutting season making deer more aggressive and erratic. Combined with the change in daylight hours, with dawn and dusk matching up to morning and evening rush hours, drivers need to be extra cautious this time of year.

You should slow down if you see deer along the margins of the road and one deer typically indicates more are nearby. If a deer does jump in front of your vehicle, you should hold the steering wheel firmly and brake. Many people suffer severe injuries when they attempt violent evasive action and lose control of their car.

Striking a tree or an oncoming car in the other lane can be more dangerous that just hitting a deer. Slow down and stay alert, and use a hunting license if you want to bag a deer, not your driver's license.

NJ.com, "Why the fall is when most of N.J.'s deer get hit by cars, 50k struck yearly," Seth Augenstein, NJ Advance Media, October 6, 2014

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