Patrol cautions motorists: watch for deer

Friday, December 26, 2008

During this time of year, deer are more active, especially during evening and nighttime hours. Drivers are urged to be aware of behavior changes of deer associated with this time of year. It's mating season, which may cause an increase in roadway crossings. Hunting and crop harvesting may cause these animals to be in places they aren't usually seen.

When deer are seen, slow down and proceed with caution! Deer often travel in groups -- stay on guard after a close call or when you see one 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. Remember: Rural areas are not the only place where deer/vehicle strikes occur. In 2007, 29.6 percent of the traffic crashes involving deer happened in urban areas.

Last year, Missouri had 3,419 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred. One deer strike occurred every 2.6 hours in the state. In these

crashes, five people were killed and 351 injured. One person was killed or injured nearly every day.

Deer create hazards for Missouri motorists. The peak time of year for this type of crash occurs in November. The majority of deer strikes occur from 5 p.m. through 6:59 a.m. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers that an attempt to avoid striking a deer could result in a more serious crash involving oncoming traffic. Try to remain calm. Panicking and overreacting usually lead to more serious traffic crashes. Please stay alert, and make sure you and the occupants of your vehicle buckle up!

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