As the days get shorter, motorists should be on the lookout for four-legged obstacles on the road.
State transportation officials are urging drivers to be vigilant for deer, especially at dusk. It's deer hunting and mating season, and it's getting dark earlier, so it's harder to see the animals on the roadways.
N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott says deer tend to travel in herds. He recommends slowing down at deer crossings and heavily wooded areas, and driving with high beams on whenever possible.
"If you see a deer, smack that horn, blast it away, cause that'll startle them, and they won't run at the car, they'll run away from it," he said.
Abbott says the number of vehicle-animal collisions rose to 18,500 last year, statewide. He says increased development has forced deer into more populated areas.
Most deer-vehicle crashes happen between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. from October through December.
The department recommends slowing down at deer crossings and heavily wooded areas, and driving with high beams on whenever possible.