SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Clocks are now an hour back with daylight saving, and you’re more than likely to be driving home in the dark, which puts you at risk of hitting wildlife.  

You are more likely to hit or crash because of a deer in November than any other month of the year, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources.  

Live in Utah long enough, and you’ll see deer in neighborhoods, canyons, on the side of the road and in the middle of the road. 

And this time of year, you’re going to see them more often.  

“It’s a hard time for people to be able to see deer especially because they’re pretty active during the early morning and later in the evening hours which is when it’s generally dark now,” said Blair Stringham, DWR wildlife migration initiative coordinator. 

In November, deer come to lower elevation areas for food and breeding, which means if you drive next to a canyon or even neighborhoods with streams and foliage, there’s a higher likelihood you’re going to see a deer or even hit one. 

“We generally see 10,000 deer collisions in Utah each year, and that’s a rough estimate. It’s likely even higher,” Stringham said. 

We all know the phrase “a deer in headlights.” which can be a real pain when you’re driving. But why does this happen?  

“As the car approaches, they kind of lose their orientation and aren’t quite sure what to do. They hesitate for a minute, and then at the last minute, they’ll make a decision and go for it,” Stringham said. 

To avoid any collisions, DWR and Utah Highway Patrol said the most important thing to do is to put your lights on and be extra vigilant. 

UHP said it’s best to take preventative measures before you’re stuck in a split-second decision about what to do. 

“Because if we can’t see it and can’t safely react to it… the likelihood of a crash is going to be greater,” UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden said. 

Each scenario is different. Bigger animals like elks or moose are more likely to break into windshields, injure or even kill drivers and passengers when they are hit, according to DWR. But when it comes to deer, they said it’s best to just hit the breaks with the chance of hitting them than to try and quickly swerve out of the way. 

“Don’t swerve. That’ll result in rolling. If you end up hitting the deer, just try to hit them straight on. Don’t try to turn or anything like that,” Stringham said.