The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers that deer are more active and create hazards for Missouri motorists this time of year. 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 being in places they aren’t usually seen. Drivers are urged to remain alert. If you strike a deer, move your vehicle to a safe location and call 911 or *55 on a cell phone and report it.
Last year, drivers in Missouri experienced 3,639 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred. One deer strike occurred every 2.4 hours in the state. In these crashes, there were five fatalities and 348 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 occur during the 6-6:59 a.m. and 6-6:59 p.m. timeframe.
Remember: Rural areas are not the only place where deer/vehicle strikes occur. Drivers in urban areas of the state should watch for deer as well. When you see a deer, slow down and proceed with caution. Deer often travel in groups–stay on guard after a close call or when you see a single deer. Natural features also affect deer movement. In areas where there are streams or wooded corridors surrounded by farmland, look for more deer to cross roadways. At night, watch for deer eyes to reflect your headlights, which could give you more time to react to their presence.
Drivers are reminded that any attempt to avoid striking a deer could result in a more serious crash involving oncoming traffic. Try to remain calm. Overreacting usually leads to more serious traffic crashes. As soon as you see a deer, the best course of action is to reduce your speed gradually while watching other traffic around you. Other drivers may be doing the same, so be sure to pay attention and always wear your seat belt.