It’s peak season for deer crashes in Massachusetts: Where were the most deer collisions last fall?

It’s peak season for deer crashes in the Bay State, as more deer suddenly dart across roads this time of year and inevitably slam into vehicles.

The most deer collisions in Massachusetts happen between the months of October and December, according to AAA Northeast, and November is consistently the top month for deer crashes that are reported to the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

“Deer crashes can occur quickly and in unexpected locations,” said Mark Schieldrop, AAA Northeast’s senior spokesperson.

Crashes were recorded last fall on roads with speed limits as low as 15 mph and as high as 65 mph.

“Drivers need to be especially vigilant this time of year,” Schieldrop added.

Last year, deer crashes between the months of October and December jumped to 1,806 — the highest number on record since at least 2002, according to a AAA Northeast analysis of crash data available from the state’s IMPACT crash portal. That’s equivalent to one deer crash every 74 minutes.

Drivers should be especially vigilant during the evening commute because crashes are most common near sunset, according to AAA. The top hours for deer crashes are 5 to 7 p.m. after the clocks fall back.

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So where are the top spots for deer crashes? Here were the top Massachusetts towns for deer collisions from October to December last year: Middleboro (48); Taunton (39); Westport (29); Swansea (28); Rehoboth (22); East Bridgewater/Seekonk (tied at 20); Freetown (19); and Acushnet/Plymouth/Wareham (tied at 18).

Also, the top counties for deer crashes last fall were: Plymouth (312); Bristol (302); Worcester (283); Middlesex (225); and Essex (134).

AAA issued the following deer collision safety tips for drivers:

Scan the shoulders of the road in front of you. Deer may dash out from the shoulder or wooded areas next 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 notice 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.
Wear your seatbelt. Your chances of being injured in a deer crash are significantly higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on.
If a crash occurs, move the vehicle to a safe location if possible and report the incident to the Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.
Contact your insurance company to report any damage to your car. Take photos of the damage if you can do so safely and without entering the roadway. Damage to the car from animal crashes generally falls under a driver’s comprehensive coverage.

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