Maine Drivers Urged to Heed New Roadside Warning Signs and Watch Out for Deer

The arrival of spring means deer are on the move along roadways.
MaineDOT and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
are urging drivers to heed posted warning signs and slow down,
particularly in areas where historically a high number of
deer-vehicle collisions have occurred.

As snow slowly disappears this spring, areas along the sides of
roads are generally one of the first areas to green up with
vegetation. Deer, who have been feeding on poor quality food
throughout much of the winter, flock to roadsides where they can
feast on tender, green plants. As deer disperse from areas where
they have wintered, motorists will often see deer feeding along the
sides of roads. Often these areas are along the sides of major
highways or high speed routes.

Recognizing the need to protect both motorists and deer,
MaineDOT and MDIF&W have identified several seasonal areas
where there are a high number of deer crashes and have installed
unique signs that alert motorists to deer during this peak season.
These signs are generally specific to a 1-mile or less stretch of
road with very high collision rates. It is extremely important that
motorists watch for these signs and slow down.

“It’s a scenario we don’t like to see happen – a car hitting a
deer, injuring the driver and the animal,” said MDOT Commissioner
David Bernhardt. “Unfortunately, it does happen too often. Please,
heed the roadside warning signs and be alert for deer that may want
to cross in your path. Save your life, and that of the deer.”

These “Caution — High Hit Area” signs feature a silhouette of a
deer, and are a bright, reflective orange and yellow. These signs
are foldable signs, and they are only opened and displayed during
this time of year, when deer collisions are frequent. As deer
disperse away from the roads, these signs will be folded up by
MDIF&W personnel so drivers do not become accustomed to them.
Next year, they will be unfolded as deer start to move.

These signs were recently installed at a high deer crash area
along I-95 in Sherman. That particular stretch of highway is
located alongside a deer wintering area, and crosses a traditional
travel corridor used heavily by deer.

“As we work to reduce mortality factors on deer and rebuild
Maine’s deer population, alerting motorists to these high-hit areas
is critical,” said MDIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. “By
slowing down and using extra caution in these limited-but-distinct
sites, drivers have an opportunity to save a deer.”

Over the past two years, these orange-and-yellow signs have been
installed at the following locations where there has been a history
of deer/vehicle crashes during this time of year: Route 9-Amherst,
Route 9-Wesley, Route 193-Cherryfield, Route 191- Jacksonville,
Route 1-Edmunds, Route 1 in East Machias, Route 2-Oakfield, Route
212-Smyrna Mills and Route 1-Monticello.

Motorists who see these new signs should be aware that deer are
likely in the area, and should drive accordingly. Remember, these
signs are only erected during high risk periods for a specific
section of road.

Over the past 10 years, Maine has averaged over 3,000
deer-vehicle crashes each year. Drivers should take care this time
of year, and be on the lookout for all wildlife on the sides of the
road. Motorists should reduce their speed when it is dark, use high
beams where appropriate, and always wear their seatbelt.

 

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