ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Whether you are driving through the mountains or cities, experts say deer are all around and there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and the animal. 

“Deer are omnipresent, they are everywhere, you know, urban areas and rural areas, too,” said Lou Hatter, Public Affairs Manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

“Honestly, look for deer everywhere. Whether it's rural back roads, the highways, through the city, you are going to see deer all over this time of year,” said Sergeant Dean Dotts with the Albemarle County Police Department's Traffic Unit. 

As winter begins, deer can be more commonly seen on roadways due to multiple factors. 

“A couple things about this time of year. Number one, it is rutting season, meaning so the deer are out and about, and it's also hunting season, which means hunters out in the woods are stirring the deer up a little bit and they are on the move more,” Hatter said. 

But even with the heightened presence of deer, collisions are down from last year.

“So, this year, 2023, deer crashes are actually down about 1.7 percent as compared to 2022,” Dotts said.

According to ACPD, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 14 of this year, there were 114 deer crashes compared to last year’s 116 during that period.  

But it is still important to know what to do if you encounter a deer on the roads. 

“If you do get in a situation where a collision is unavoidable, keep steering straight ahead. I know that is kind of counterintuitive, people are wanting to try to avoid the animal. But we see a lot more serious crashes when people try to avoid the animal and then run off the road and hit something off the road,” Hatter said. 

"And once you do hit the deer, if you hit the deer, just find a safe place to pull over and stop and call our non-emergency number,” Dotts said. 

As for preventative measures, Hatter and Dotts both said to be aware of your surroundings and scan the shoulders to keep an eye out for animals on roadways.