BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts residents are being reminded to beware of deer out on the roadways after an increase in deer-related crashes during last year’s mating season, according to AAA Northeast.

Between October and December 2021, 1,656 crashes involving deer were reported in the state, the highest total during that time period since 2002. Bristol County had 282 crashes, while Middleborough reported the most for a single town with 33.

“Hitting a deer can have traumatic and devastating consequences and drivers need to be especially vigilant at this time of year,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast’s Vice President of Public and Government Affairs. “The best defense against deer crashes is to be prepared and alert.”

AAA shared these tips to prevent deer crashes:

  • Scan the shoulders of the road in front of you. Deer may dash out from the shoulder or wooded areas adjacent to the road.
  • Follow the speed limit. Keeping your speed down will give you more time to respond to unexpected wildlife movements.
  • Be careful rounding curves and climbing hills where visibility is limited.
  • One long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your car if you spy them early enough.
  • If you spy one deer, look out for others. Deer rarely travel alone.
  • Use your high beams along dark roadways if there is no oncoming traffic.
  • If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and try to remain in your lane and avoid other vehicles. Swerving sharply can cause an even more serious crash.