Watch out for wandering deer

Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers that deer are more active and create hazards for Missouri motorists this time of year. Drivers should remember that attempting to avoid striking a deer can result in a more serious crash involving oncoming traffic, a MSHP release states.

The patrol recommends remaining calm. Panicking and overreacting usually lead to more serious traffic crashes. Drivers, as soon as seeing a deer, should reduce speed and pay attention to other drivers.

Last year, drivers in Missouri experienced 4,090 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred. One deer strike occurred every 2.1 hours in the state. In these crashes, there were six fatalities and 415 people were injured. The majority of deer strike crashes occur in October and November each year with the largest number taking place in November. Although deer strikes can occur at any time, most happen between 5 and 6:59 a.m. and between 6 and 8:59 p.m.

Rural areas are not the only place deer wander. When you see a deer, MSHP says to slow down and proceed with caution. Deer often travel in groups, so drivers should stay on guard after seeing one in case there are more.

Natural features also affect deer movement. In areas where there are streams or wooded areas and farmland, there may be more deer around crossing roadways. At night, drivers should watch for deer eyes reflecting headlights which may provide more time to react

Deer behavior changes due to mating season, which may cause an increase in sightings and roadway crossings. Hunting and crop harvesting may result in these animals beingin places they aren’t usually seen. Drivers are urged to remain alert. If a deer is struck, drivers should call 911 or 55 on a cell phone to report it.

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