A deer-vehicle collision is possible in any season, but there are times of year (and day) when your chances of hitting a deer get exponentially greater. Be vigilant, take caution, and better understand the most dangerous times for deer-vehicle collisions.

At dawn and dusk

Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, so motorists should be especially cautious driving between the hours of 5 and 8 a.m and 5 and 10 p.m., when deer are likely to be out feeding. Not coincidentally, this is also a peak driving and low-visibility time for motorists. Slow down, scan the road and shoulder ahead of you, and use your high beams in the evening when it’s safe to do so (the bright lights reflect off their shiny eyes, making them easier to see). Remember, deer tend to travel in herds. If you spot one, know there are probably others nearby and take appropriate caution.

Breeding season (October to December)

In North America, whitetail deer breed in the fall (also known as the “rut”). In late October through December, there’s a noticeable uptick in deer-vehicle collisions (almost 50 percent of all auto accidents involving deer happen during these months), with November, the peak of the rutting season, being an especially active month for collisions. So why breeding season? Some biologists believe preoccupied bucks chase doe out onto the roads and are generally less cautious about their whereabouts. Other studies show that white-tailed deer tend to roam more freely (and less cautiously) during breeding season as they cast about looking for mates.

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Hunting season (beginning in November)

In many locales, the start of hunting season begins in November, leaving experts to speculate that the combination of mating and hunting seasons has given the month its reputation as a deadly time of year for deer. Spooked deer fleeing hunters (or the sounds of them) may inadvertently end up on roadways or in more developed areas as a result of being scared out of the woods.

May and June

In late spring, another spike in deer-vehicle collisions is commonly observed as young deer begin exploring and spreading out into new areas. Young deer are less likely to understand that vehicles are a threat, and they’re also more likely to fall in front of your vehicle as they try to make their getaway on slippery hooves.

A run-in with a deer has the potential to cause a lot of damage. Take precautions and make sure you have auto coverage you can rely on.

Safe and smart | Car safety

about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.