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INDIANA — Law enforcement are warning Indiana drivers to be aware that the fall and winter months bring an increase risk of hitting a deer as the animals are more active.

Each year more than 14,000 deer-vehicle collisions are reported across the state. Most occur between October and December, during deer mating season.

To reduce the risk of being in an accident, and dealing with damage to your car, here are some tips to help avoid possibly hitting a deer.

Be cautious when driving during dusk or dawn hours

Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, however, they can still appear at any time of day. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing their seat belts at all times in case of a sudden stop.

Pay attention when you see a deer crossing sign

Be alert and observe your surroundings for signs of deer, especially in forested areas. It’s important to drive with caution even if you’re no longer in a deer-crossing zone.

Stay alert if you spot a deer

If you see one deer, expect there may be more you don’t see. Deer tend to travel in groups, so be sure to slow down if you see one. To help alert other drivers, tap your breaks, flash your lights, or honk your horn to warn them.

Take precautions when driving at night

If there is no oncoming traffic, use your bright lights to be able to see clearer and increase your chance of spotting a deer. This can give you more time to react as needed to its presence.

Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer

Do not swerve to avoid a deer collision, doing so can put yourself at risk for a worse crash with another car or even cause you to run off the road. Brake firmly and stay in your lane.

Report the deer-vehicle collision

If you are involved in an accident, call local police to report it so you will have an accident report for your insurance.

Don’t assume your car is drivable

Any accident can cause damage that may not be apparent at a glance. After a collision, make sure to double-check your car, looking for any leaking fluid, loose or broken parts, and tire damage. If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a towtruck.

Remember that deer are unpredictable animals, they can dart into traffic at any time. You should stay alert any time you are behind the wheel.