The North Reading Police Department is cautioning motorists about the increase in deer related motor vehicle crashes. Statistically, most deer related motor vehicle crashes occur between the months of October and December, which also coincides with the deer’s mating season. Deer frequently travel more during this season and are less cautious about hazards such as vehicles. Also at this time of year, deer shift their core movement area as trees and shrubs become bare, making the animals less secure in the areas they used during the summer.
Statistics also show that more accidents occur during the night, or anytime between dusk and dawn. This is attributed to the fact that deer are a very nocturnal animal and spend most of their time looking for food at night. The shorter days mean that deer are on the move during peak vehicle travel times, which occur in the low-light of dawn and dusk when deer are difficult to see.
Because unfortunately many of these collisions with deer are unavoidable, the North Reading Police Department maintains an active list of residents who request to be contacted when a deer is struck and killed by a motor vehicle. Those on the contact list will respond to the location of the deceased animal at which point they will take possession of the animal.
This process is done for several reasons. According to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, if a MA resident strikes a deer, they are entitled to claim it. Most often, the motorist who struck the deer does not want to claim the animal. In order to remove the animal from the roadway in a timely fashion, it is necessary to have such lists in place. Leaving the deceased animal on or in the area of the roadway is not an option due to the fact that the carcass would attract predatory wild animals into the area.
We are currently looking to add several names to our contact list in an effort to have an ample supply of readily available people who will remove such deceased animals from the roadway. Being added to this contact list may result in being contacted at odd hours for a deer removal.
If you are a North Reading resident and you are interested in being added to our 2016-2017 Deer Hit Contact List please email Sgt. Tom Encarnacao at firstname.lastname@example.org including your full name, date of birth, address and best contact numbers.
Here are some tips for motorists to help keep themselves and their and passengers safe and avoid colliding with a deer:
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Be attentive, reduce your speed, and don’t overdrive your headlights (driving too fast for the distance your headlights can cover). The most common remark people make after they’ve been in a deer related motor vehicle crash is that the deer “came out of nowhere.”
- When legal to do so, use high-beam headlights when driving in deer territory to increase your vision and your time to react to a deer hiding on the roadside that may suddenly jump in front of your car.
- If you see one deer on the side of the road, and you’re fortunate enough not to hit it, be sure to slow down, because where there is one deer, there will often be others.
- Be particularly vigilant when driving through areas with high foliage or low hanging branches on the roadside. If there are two people in the car, ask your passenger for help watching the sides of the road.
- Avoid riding motorcycles in areas with high deer populations. Riding a motorcycle leaves you much more vulnerable to serious injury in an accident than does driving a car.
- If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, it is usually best not to swerve to avoid it. Brake and hold the wheel straight. Turning the wheel to avoid the deer may result in a worse accident with another car, or cause the car to spin out of control resulting in a much more serious crash.
- If you do hit a deer, call the police and stay in your car until help arrives. If the deer is still alive, it may be stunned and could become very aggressive if aroused. Do not touch an injured deer or other animal. Any attempt to move the animal will likely cause further fear, injury, or suffering. Move safely off the road if possible, and consider the importance of alerting other drivers.