(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Autumn is the season for deer to be on the move, sometimes crossing onto area roadways.

With this being the case, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminded drivers to be extra cautious driving on the roads this season. According to PennDOT data, in 2021, there were 5,728 deer-related crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 1,255 injuries and 13 fatalities.

In the six counties included in PennDOT’s northwest region, there were 479 crashes and 103 total injuries last year, both increases from 2020.

“October and November are prime months for deer to be active along our roadways and motorists need to take appropriate precautions to help avoid deer-related crashes,” said Brian McNulty, P.E., PennDOT District 1 executive.

Deer often travel in small herds and are most active between sunset and sunrise as they look for food. Drivers should be extra cautious during morning and evening commute times.

PennDOT recommends the following safety tips to help drivers avoid a deer-related crash:

  • Slow down and be alert, especially where deer crossing signs are posted.
  • Increase the following distance between vehicles.
  • Make new drivers aware of increased deer movement.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Turn your headlights on whenever using your wipers.