RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The official start of Autumn is about two weeks away. While fall can bring relief from the brutal summer sun, it also brings increased deer movement.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says about seven percent of all car crashes in the state involve animal strikes.

Deer start to make more appearances on North Carolina roads in September but October to December are the peak months for deer-vehicle collisions.

Deer become more active, especially at night, because of mating and hunting seasons. In addition, limited lighting during this time of year makes it harder to see deer when they are on or near a road.

Between 2018 and 2020, Wake County had the highest number of animal crashes with 2,570. The county usually falls in the top spot because of its large geographic size and its fast residential growth, NCDOT says.

The top five counties for animal crashes are:

  1. Wake County: 2,570
  2. Pitt County: 1,712
  3. Guilford County: ​1,707
  4. Union County: 1,493
  5. Randolph County: ​1,467

Safety advice offered by NCDOT includes:

  • Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams and ditches.
  • Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for deer eyes reflecting in the headlights. 
  • Deer often travel in small herds so if you see one deer near a road be alert for others.
  • If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast
  • Do not swerve to avoid a collision. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and cause a more serious crash.