Maryland drivers are being urged to exercise an abundance of caution during the latter part of November because deer are mating. That means there are lots of deer on the move, and many of them spring suddenly onto the road.

In 2016, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported that close to 10,000 deer were hit and killed by moving vehicles. It’s no wonder that body shops across the state report an influx of battered vehicles every year during deer season.

If you see a deer appear suddenly in your path, it’s important to know how to respond. Experts say that it’s better to hit the deer than swerve into another lane. A driver trying to avoid a deer risks rolling their vehicle over an embankment, being impaled by the post of a mailbox, crashing into a utility pool or hitting other cars. While it’s regrettable to hit the deer, it’s the lesser of two evils.

Drivers need to take some precautions while they’re on the road, particularly in wooded areas. If you have a passenger, ask them to help keep an eye out for deer roaming close to the road. At night, your headlights may reflect in the eyes of any deer close to the road, which may give you warning they’re there.

You should also go slower than you normally would, to give yourself additional breaking time. Use your high beams to get extra visibility when you aren’t in danger of blinding other drivers.

Keep in mind that you also need to be wary of other drivers at this time of year. If you end up in a deer-related accident with another vehicle, an attorney can help you understand your ability to seek compensation for your injuries.