In an effort to reduce the number collisions with wildlife, Caltrans officials wanted to remind drivers to be extra alert during the deer migration season.
Each year, when the seasons change, hundreds of deer begin their twice-annual migration. California Department of Transportation District 9 Director Tom Hallenbeck cautions the traveling public to be alert for deer that are near or moving across the roadway, especially during early morning and evening hours.
In the past, Caltrans officials have said that drivers hit about 300 deer a year in Mono County that they know of. Some years the number gets to be as high as 450 with low years about 200. Numbers are lower for Inyo County because of fewer deer and better visibility.
Caltrans keeps track of where most of these deer collisions occur. It turns out that Sonora Junction, where 395 and 108 over Sonora Pass meet north of Bridgeport gets more deer collisions than the rest of Mono County combined.
Other spots that see a lot of collisions are on the Sherwin Grade and where Mammoth Creek crosses 395 near the airport. Collisions in Round Valley where deer forage during the winter are also common.
To avoid a potentially dangerous or costly deer collision, Caltrans officials say to slow down while driving at dusk or night and to be on the look out for deer on the sides of the road. They also say that the deer crossing signs that you see on the side of the roads are put in the spots most likely to have deer collisions.
Besides the deer crossing signs placed at known deer migration crossings, Caltrans employees also mow the brush on the shoulders to increase visibility.
Caltrans officials also say that deer whistles and other vehicle mounted noise making devices are not reliable. If you are about to hit a deer, they say to hold the wheel with both hands and brake hard and try to stay in your lane so as not make the situation worse by crossing into oncoming traffic or by going off the road.