Deer are traditionally on the move this time of year.

MaineDOT and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are urging drivers to heed posted warning signs and slow down, particularly in areas where a high number of deer-vehicle collisions have historically occurred.

As snow melts, roadsides are generally one of the first areas to green up with vegetation and deer flock to there to feast on tender, green plants.

According to a press release from Deborah Turcotte, spokesperson for the MDIF&W, these feeding areas are often alongside highways and high-speed routes.

MaineDOT and MDIF&W identified seasonal areas where a high number of vehicle-deer crashes have occurred and have installed signs alerting motorists to deer during this peak season. The signs, according to the release, are generally specific to a one-mile or less stretch of road with high collision rates.

“It’s a scenario we don’t like to see happen – a car hitting a deer, injuring the driver and the animal,” said MDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt.

“Unfortunately, it does happen too often. Please, heed the roadside warning signs and be alert for deer that may want to cross in your path. Save your life, and that of the deer.”

The “Caution — High Hit Area” reflective signs feature a silhouette of a deer. The foldable orange and yellow signs are only opened for display at this time of year when deer collisions are frequent.

As deer leave the roadsides, Turcotte said MDIF&W personnel will fold up the signs until next year.

Signs were recently installed at a frequent crash area along I-95 in Sherman, which is alongside a deer wintering area and near a traditional deer travel corridor.

“As we work to reduce mortality factors on deer and rebuild Maine’s deer population, alerting motorists to these high-hit areas is critical,” said MDIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

“By slowing down and using extra caution in these limited-but-distinct sites, drivers have an opportunity to save a deer.”

The past two years, the orange-and-yellow signs have been installed this time of year at the following locations: Route 9-Amherst, Route 9-Wesley, Route 193-Cherryfield, Route 191-Jacksonville, Route 1-Edmunds, Route 1-East Machias, Route 2-Oakfield, Route 212-Smyrna Mills and Route 1-Monticello.

Turcotte said motorists should be aware that deer are likely in these areas and drive accordingly.

Over the course of the last decade, Turcotte said Maine has annually averaged more than 3,000 deer-vehicle crashes. Drivers, said Turcotte, should be on the lookout for all wildlife on the sides of the road, reduce speed when it is dark, use high beams where appropriate, and wear a seat belt.