In North America and Europe, deer (Cervidae)–vehicle collisions (DVCs) are common and result not only in injury and death to the animals involved, but also human injury and property damage. Given that most DVCs occur during crepuscular periods, we questioned whether the perceived threat to deer posed by vehicle approach could be enhanced. We hypothesized that a vehicle-based lighting system that better complements peak visual capabilities of deer at night relative to standard tungsten-halogen (TH) lighting alone would elicit a greater flight-initiation distance (FID) by free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Our lighting system comprised 2 TH lamps and one Xenarc high-intensity discharge (HID) lamp. We defined an a priori logistic model comprising 4 variables potentially explaining deer FID relative to vehicle approach: 1) starting distance of the approach, 2) lighting treatment, 3) season, and 4) deer group size. Deer exposed to the combination of TH lamps and constant illumination of the HID lamp exhibited a mean (SD) FID of 136 (127) m. In contrast, deer exposed to TH lamps only initiated flight on average at 116 (127) m, and those exposed to the combination of TH lamps and the HID lamp pulsed at 2 Hz exhibited a mean FID of 89 (98) m. We contend that the pulsing of the HID lamp while TH lamps were illuminated resulted in consistent loss (over approx. 0.5-sec intervals) of a portion of the image on approach, possibly interfering with sensory information relative to the position of the potential threat. In contrast, the combination of TH lamps and constant illumination of the HID lamp contributed (P = 0.033) to the probability of a FID ≥94 m. We suggest, therefore, that deer FID can be increased by combining currently available TH and HID lamps, or use of HID lamps alone, to enhance detection of an approaching vehicle at night. Also, we encourage research into new lamp designs to better complement deer visual capabilities as well as continued research to quantify deer FID in response to vehicle approach at night and lamp-specific properties that can enhance deer detection of the vehicle.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.