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End of daylight saving time means more deer danger for South Carolina drivers

SCDNR and AAA both urge motorists to be vigilant on the roads as the time change shifts commuter traffic to the dusk and dawn hours when deer are most active.
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Authorities are warning drivers to take it easy on area roads as deer become a more common sight in and along South Carolina Roads.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) suggested that the annual end of daylight saving time will mean more cars out when deer are most active.

"Most vehicle collisions occur near dawn and dusk because they tend to move more during these times," the agency shared on social media. "The end of daylight savings time means these are the times most people are commuting to and from work."

In fact, one spokesperson for AAA, Lynda Lambert, told WLTX sister station WHAS that November and December are the dangerous months for deer and vehicle collisions.

And part of the reason they happen, she said, is how people react.

"When you get something like that in front of you, your natural instinct is to slam the brakes and dart but that's usually what gets you hurt or killed," Lambert said. 

SCDNR reports this is something you shouldn't do. Instead, the state agency suggests sounding a horn and flicking the headline if the deer is far enough ahead while reducing speed.

However, if the deer is particularly close, the same technique may cause the deer to run into the road. In that case, just slow down.

And if the deer is extremely close and a collision is unavoidable, authorities suggest hitting the deer rather than trying to dodge it. As SCDNR explains, the most severe injuries happen when motorists try to avoid a deer but lose control and hit something else, like a tree or ditch.

If a motorist does hit a deer, they're urged to call the police and put the vehicle's hazard light's on regardless of how well-lit an area is. Also, try to move the vehicle out of the roadway to a safe location if possible. AAA also recommends calling an insurance agent as soon as possible.

As for the deer, AAA suggests drivers avoid contact with the potentially injured animal. The organization said the frightened and wounded creature could injure people or itself if spooked.