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You’re driving home from work when all of a sudden, something runs into the road, heading straight for your car.

Oh, deer.

‘Tis the season for deer strikes, according to Aviance Oden, safety specialist at the Garrison Safety Office.

October, November and December are the prime months for animal collisions, she said, adding that this time period also overlaps with both mating and hunting season for deer in our area.

And with the recent time change and many people driving home after dark, you could be facing the proverbial deer in the headlights with little notice.

Consumer Reports statistics show the highest chances of hitting a deer are during the fall months between 6 and 9 p.m., or at dawn.

Kelly Smith, conservation law enforcement officer at Redstone Arsenal, said there are an estimated 2,000 deer on post.

Christy Harris, dispatch supervisor for NASA and Redstone Arsenal, said data gathered in November showed three deer strikes occurred on the installation over the span of the prior two months, but the numbers are expected to go up.

“We see more (deer strikes) during the winter months,” she said.

When a call comes in about a deer strike, Harris said, military police are called to the scene, as are medical professionals, if necessary.

Police ensure there are no leaks or spills from a vehicle on the road, Harris said. As for the deer, representatives of the Arsenal’s Recurring Maintenance and Minor Repair Program are called and “they will send someone in Animal Control to go out and pick it up,” she said.

Deer strikes have occurred on the main roads such as Rideout, Martin or Patton, Harris said, but they are more common “on the back roads, like Toftoy,” where an occasional cow may also find its way to the road.

“Thank God, we’ve never had anybody hit one (a cow),” she said.

The Garrison Safety Office has offered a few tips to avoid hitting a deer while on the Arsenal.

Be aware of posted deer crossing signs, which are placed throughout the installation at locations where the deer thrive.

Use your high beam headlights as much as possible at dusk and at night to illuminate the areas from which deer enter roadways.

Avoid distractions while driving

The national Humane Society offers a few additional tips on its website:

Be vigilant. Watch from side to side as you drive, especially in areas of low visibility or where shrubs or grasses are near the road.

Watch for group behavior. Deer often travel in groups. If one deer crosses the road, slow down and watch for more to follow.

Try to drive straight and avoid swerving around wildlife; rather, try to brake and firmly blow your horn. Animals are easily confused. If you swerve, deer may run into the vehicle rather than away from it. Swerving could also cause you to wreck into another vehicle or off the road into poles or fences.

For more information on deer-vehicle collisions, visit alfafarmers.org.

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