Be smart and be safe, please

As we wish for our own family and friends we wish for our dear readers: Be safe and be smart, please, whether on the roads amid the season’s first storm, or in the coming days during hunting season here in Pennsylvania.

No, you should not drive your normal speed when there’s ice and snow on the road … or even when it’s raining.

Yes, you should always drive defensively,.

You should not take for granted what the other driver is going to do at the intersection, in the passing lane … on any road.

A Winter Storm Watch was put into effect on Wednesday ahead of a storm that will make its way up the East Coast. Our area is forecast to receive upward of 6 inches of snow starting today through Friday morning.

It has probably changed to a Winter Storm Warning by the time you read this.

While they’re not sure about snow accumulations, they are pretty certain that it will sleet here.

A warning in meteorology terms means a “weather-related hazard is imminent and immediate steps should be taken to protect lives and property.”

And also take heed: Since daylight saving time ended Nov. 4, there is increased vehicular traffic between dusk and dawn — the peak hours for deer activity.

Deer often travel in family groups and walk single file. So even if one deer successfully crosses the road in front of a driver, it doesn’t mean the threat is over. Another could be right behind it.

A driver who hits a deer with vehicle is not required to report the accident to the Game Commission. If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents may claim the carcass. To do so, they must call the Game Commission region office representing the county where the accident occurred and an agency dispatcher will collect the information needed to provide a free permit number, which the caller should write down.

A resident must call within 24 hours of taking possession of the deer. A passing Pennsylvania motorist also may claim the deer, if the person whose vehicle hit it doesn’t want it.

Antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions either must be turned over to the Game Commission, or may be purchased for $10 per point by the person who claims the deer. Also, removing antlers from road-killed bucks is illegal.

If a deer is struck by a vehicle, but not killed, drivers are urged to maintain their distance because some deer might recover and move on. However, if a deer does not move on, or poses a public safety risk, drivers are encouraged to report the incident to a Game Commission regional office or other local law-enforcement agency. If the deer must be put down, the Game Commission will direct the proper person to do so.

To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.